A tribe may be defined as a body of people found together by a common culture and a common language and acting in concert towards all neighboring peoples. The Athapaskans do not qualify as a tribe under this definition because of the wide variations in culture and dialect found among them.
A band may be defined as a group of people who live together throughout the better part of the year. It is organized around a core of kinfolk and is politically independent of its neighbors, although the band may adopt many of the customs of its neighbors. The Athapaskans seem to adopt the ways of surrounding peoples quickly, and almost completely. They are adaptable with the notable exception of language, and to some extent religion. Even when they sometimes adhere to Christian religious groups they keep to their own basic Indian faith in private. (Reported by Richard Belcourt, 1973). As the Athapaskans were nomadic, small hunting bands were unlikely to assemble into larger units. For example, the bands now living up the Doig and Halfway Rivers, in their legends (as told to Professor Robin Ridington) still have no knowledge or memory of the “Unchagah” Peace. They must have been apart for at least two hundred years.