The first cultural influence you'll probably think of when you see the tauren and walk around in their villages is "Native American." That's fine as far as it goes, but you should remember that they're mainly based on the stereotypical image of what Native Americans are rather than their actual reality. I'm hardly an expert on Native Americans, however, so rather than try and speak for these differences, I'm just going to put the whole issue aside and take tauren as tauren rather than parallels to any human culture. Besides, aside from certain aspects of architecture, music, clothing, and mythology, the tauren are really their own species. They are quite general enough to remind us of all kinds of different cultures around the world, many of whom cherish the earth, revere their ancestors, and try to live in harmony with the world.
Some people say that the tauren are the noblest and most peaceful of the races in World of Warcraft, but for most of their history, they have been at war with the vicious centaur -- though not by choice. The centaur have always been very hostile towards tauren, driving them out of their ancestral homelands, slaughtering them and even cannibalizing them whenever possible. In a way, the centaur seem like four-legged versions of the nastier trolls who never joined the Horde. When Thrall came to Kalimdor and encountered the tauren in the midst of their struggle against the centaur, it marked the beginning of one of the greatest changes in tauren history.