Dalton’s cultural atmosphere is a mixture of the various population groups within the city. In the upper-class sectors, white male privilege, heavy exclusivity, and condemnation of outsiders are very common. Most of the families in power gained their control in the early years of the Howard administration, and even though the council was supposedly formed to create a more equal government, it still heavily favored those who had gained much of the power and control in the city under Howard’s government and his oppressive policing.
Families who have intermarried with the Sioux residents are familiar with many old legends, and the mentality of treating all of nature as sharing in life rather than something to be exploited is helping fuel support for the Mixed rights movements in the human community. Some Mixeds left Dalton to live in the Pine Ridge community as they are treated no differently from full-blooded humans there. One of the largest human efforts for the Mixed rights in Dalton is headed by Native advocates and calls itself “Brothers of Nature”. Native religious practices, especially traditional medicine, have been heavily incorporated in these families. Many people find their philosophy of life in harmony with the natural world to be more applicable to postwar life, and are beginning to adopt that mindset rather than pushing a return to technological and manufacturing society.
Despite these changes, Dalton is still dominated by its original ethnic makeup, since many of the Native American and other minority families chose to leave under Howard’s heavy-handed policies. However, the percentage was raised somewhat in the following years when the food shortages, rampant disease, and harsh climate caused more deaths among the unprepared privileged than the sustainability-minded Native American population or the Hispanic migrant workers, who were accustomed to surviving harsh and inhumane conditions. Native medicine became very important to survival as supplies of manufactured cures ran out.
Hispanic culture also has an influence on Dalton, especially outside of the Gold Sector. Holidays are celebrated in neighborhoods that are heavily Hispanic, and families often stay together, some so large that an entire apartment building might be populated by one family with their extended family members. They are often treated poorly by the Citadel, but are largely simply ignored in favor of actions against the Sioux or the Mixed. Many speak a mixture of Spanish and English, although some sections of a sector are almost entirely Spanish-speaking.
The Mixed have their own cultural differences as well. Sub-groups by species often have specific favored activities or events. Those whose Mixes were social animals often gather in large groups or live in communal houses. Some have very large families, others are often single or in nuclear families. Depending on the Mix, there are also cultural traditions surrounding seasonal changes, marriages and births, and death. The change of fur thickness or feather molting in some species is their indication of a season change, and some season arrivals are celebrated in various ways.
Cat-type Mixeds are often solitary, and tend to be combative over territory. They spend winters mainly indoors and tend to celebrate the coming of warmer days by lying in the sun on their roofs. Dog, horse, and cattle types often live in family or community groupings. Bird Mixeds sing often, and since many of them have feathers that change color with age, molting one’s feathers to the adult coloration is often the symbol of adulthood and is accompanied by some sort of coming of age ceremony.
There are few other specific cultural traditions, since for the Mixed life is mostly focused on survival, not on creating a heritage or identity of their own. They create no holidays of their own, because even if they did they would be prohibited from celebrating them. The Citadel attempts to avoid allowing the Mixed to ever gain a heritage and tradition they can rally around, because keeping them separated and segmented helps prevent organized resistance.