Implicit in much of American Indian acculturation research is the erroneous assumption that acculturation is synonymous with identity and, as a result, can be used as a proxy for identity in survey research. This lack of distinction between the two means may partly explain some discrepant findings in American Indian wellness studies. To clarify the conceptual distinction, the current study examined the relationship between urban American Indian identity attitudes and acculturation styles. The findings indicate that although identity attitudes and acculturative behaviors are related they are separate constructs that should not be used as proxies for one another in survey research or mental health studies. Contrary to the assimilationist models, native peoples have survived by taking the best of both worlds, integrating them, maintaining and transforming native cultures, and, ultimately buffering against negative colonizing processes through the internalization of positive identity attitudes and the externalization of negative dominant group attitudes. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678. E-mail address: getinfo@haworthpressinc.com]