from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A small tribe of Native Americans (diminutive of tribe); specifically; small independent groups of Native California people which shared a language and usually comprised of one principal village - larger groups possibly having several villages all in close proximity.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A little tribe; a subordinate division or offset of a tribe.
Coined by anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber to refer to many groups of Native Americans in Central California. The word stems from the word tribe, and suffix -let. It has been in use since at least 1925. Kroeber maintained he had identified over 500 tribelets in California. The term has been employed by many anthropologists since to denote California groups of native people. (Wiktionary)