Models of ethnicity in Nepal stress, on the one hand, unlimited ethnic diversity and, on the other, a rather limited set of ethnic contrasts: Hindu versus Buddhist, tribe versus caste, mountain versus middle hills versus lowland Terai. However, ethnic relations in Humla District, in Nepal's far northwest Karnali Zone, are characterized more by interaction, interdependence, and mobility than contrasts and boundaries between groups.1 In Humla, individuals and even entire villages readily change their ethnic affiliation and their position in the caste system. There, too, ethnic groups are linked by a regional economic and social system, and changes in a group's ethnic affiliations are coincident with changes in their economy and style of life. Finally, the case of Humla reaffirms what other scholars have noted: ethnic relations today are the outcome of a historical process of accommodation between regional ethnic systems and the policies of a centralizing state.

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