• The Great House at Casa Grande Ruins stands out for miles

    Casa Grande Ruins

    National Monument Arizona

What is Culture?

Hashen Kehk Traditional Basket Dancers from the Gila River Indian Community

Hashen Kehk Traditional Basket Dancers
(Gila River Indian Community)

NPS Photo - Dawn Daw

Culture is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as:

“the totality of socially transmitted
behavior patterns, arts, beliefs,
institutions, and all other products
of human work and thought typical
of a population or community at a
given time.”

What does that mean?

Culture is the way we learn to look at the world and how we function in it. Our culture is taught to us by our families, friends and communities. From these people, we learn what foods to eat, what kinds of houses to build, how to communicate, and how to behave. Cultures can be defined in many different ways: by region, nationality, religion, and race, to name just a few.

Most people are a part of more than one culture. If you are living in the United States, you are a part of the American culture. But there are many other co-cultures living here as well. A co-culture is a culture that is different from the predominant culture. An example would be: the American culture is the predominant culture in the United States and the O'odham culture is a co-culture. Cultures are sometimes defined by the kinds of food we eat, types of clothes we wear, where we live, where we work, the tools we use, the language we speak, and what we do for fun.

 

 
What If...
What if you could live with another culture for a year?
What would you want to learn?


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Did You Know?

1852 sketch of Casa Grande by John Bartlett.

Father Kino, in 1694, was the first European to call this structure Casa Grande. It is a Spanish word that means 'great house.' The Casa Grande is a 4-story, 11-room structure which was built about 700 years ago.