Tribe: Amadahy (Translation: Forest Water) Edit
Chief: Kesegowaase (translation: swift)
Encampment: northern mountains
Patron Spirit: Wachiwi (translation: dancer) - Great Spirit of the Water's Heart
Nickname: the Taleweavers
Known for their intricate talent for the weaving of all things, the Amadahy are renowned for their fine skills in beading, braiding, spinning, and sewing. They are among the finest basket makers in the known world, gathering grasses, pine needles, and reeds, and weaving them into intricately colored patterns by dyeing batches of grasses before they begin. Like the spider in the woods, they have learned to make the weak materials stronger by interweaving them together, and life their lives by the same philosophy. They excel at braiding feathered headdresses and ceremonial garb, and their belief in the web of life and family is an unbreakable tie like no other.
They consider themselves the Guardians of the Water, for their territory contains the heads of two major rivers in the region. The have a sacred reverence for water, viewing it as both a giver and taker of life. They live in cedar plank houses, gathering herbs and edible plants from the forest. They are known for seasoned and smoked meats, and are excellent fishermen. Farther north, in the Sequajiza villages, arctic fishermen carve their houses from the ice and snow, carving soapstone and bones to pass the time. Out of necessity, they have learned to excel as trappers, furriers, and tanners to keep warm in the harsh winters. On the coldest nights, the tribe gathers in the Great Lodge to weave tales and song.
Tribe: Iiniwa (Translation: Buffalo, Bison) Edit
Chief: Degotoga (translation: standing together)
Region: Nava Opar
Encampment: central plains
Totem: White Buffalo
Patron Spirit: Ptaysanwee (translation: white buffalo) - Great Spirit of Life and Light
Nickname: Plains Riders
The Plains Riders are a tribe of nomadic hunters that ride and hunt the plains of the Nava Opar from horseback. Their ponies are born wild, and their capture, taming, and training is essentially the Iiniwa's Rite of Passage. Once broken and tamed, the mustangs become as a brother or sister to their rider, and they learn to work and ride as one. Working in unison, Iiniwa hunting parties stalk roaming herds of bison for food and raw materials. Once a kill is brought into camp, not a scrap goes to waste. The meat is smoked, pelts are tanned, sinew is made into rope and bowstrings, bones are carved for household items and weapons. Even the blood itself is used as an additive for paint.
The Iiniwa live in tipis that can be easily moved to follow the herd, but keep a single stable encampment in the south for economical and political reasons. In their free time, the women enjoy painting decorative designs on tipis, clothing, and drum heads. Drums are considered to be the sacred voice of the Othonia herself, and are played in times of celebration and ceremony. When an Iiniwa's Horse Brother (or Sister) dies, it is customary that the "lost" Iiniwa embark on a journey away from the tribe for a time in a Quest of Mourning. Once his or her soul is finally at peace, they may return to the tribe at will to train a new mustang. Similar Quests of Mourning are undertaken when they lose a mate, and also at the passing of a close family member.
Tribe: Lonato (Translation: Flint) Edit
Chief: Honovi (translation: strong deer)
Region: Nava Opar
Encampment: northern woodlands
Patron Spirit: Hiamovi (translation: high chief) - Great Spirit of the Forest's Wisdom
Nickname: Forest Keepers
Reputation: The Lonato tribe inhabit the northern woodlands above the plains region at the edges of the Mezo Amar. Their primary food source is the hunting of deer and small game, but they also supplement their diet by gathering fruit, mushrooms, wild onions, and edible berries from the forest. They live in cedar long houses, building permanent settlements and small villages made up of small bands or family groups. In these village clearings, they often farm hearty crops, such as corn, beans, squash, and pumpkin. They fish the forest streams, and gather everything they need to survive from the forest around them. They are excellent wood carvers, and are known for their exceptional bowyer-fletcher skills. The women spend their free time making wampum, intricately carved beads and shells, which are used to mark rank and lineage of the clans' chieftains. In Lonato society, lineage is traced through the mother, and women are equally respected and revered.
Among the Lonato, the eldest grandmother of the tribe is held as its wisest member, and holds the title Keeper of Tales. When the "Seafolk" came, venturing from Vikaa'ra, the Keeper of Tales saw the wisdom in welcoming the travelers, and an alliance was formed almost immediately. Land on the Northern Mesa was given to the settlers in exchange for forged metal household goods and weapons. With superior steel tips for their arrows, the Lonato bows were even more lethal and true-flying than they had been before. The Lonato no longer farmed or hunted the land, for they believed it to be infertile, so it was of no loss to them to allow the newcomers to settle there.
In order to welcome the settlers, the Lonato prepared a harvest feast and exchanged gifts between families. The Lonato brought fresh game, corn, potatoes, maple sugar cakes, and pumpkin pie. The settlers brought apple cider, grog, jellies, butter, cheese, and fresh bread. Each family in attendance exchanged hand-crafted gifts, and an accord of peace was struck between both leaders. The Feast of Welcoming celebration is observed throughout Amari'z even today, and while the food is important, the exchanging of hospitality gifts is still observed and cherished. Traditionally, the gifts are hand made with love, and are commonly items that are both decorative and practical, such as hand carved signs, furniture, quilts, tableware, etc.
Tribe: Miakoda (Translation: Power of the Moon) Edit
Chief: Yutu (translation: coyote out hunting)
Encampment: central mountains
Patron Spirit: Istaqa (translation: coyote man) - Great Spirit of the Trickster in the Wind
Nickname: Cliff Dwellers
The Miakoda are best known for their traditional dwellings carved into the land itself. In the mountainous regions, they literally carve their homes into the side of the cliffs, the walls of which are then decorated with intricate paintings and carvings. These pueblos are well insulated, providing cool rooms in the summer and warmth in the winter. On the plains, the homes are dug into the ground, and the entrances covered with woven thatch or mud over wooden framework. These hogans provide the same insulation against the elements in harsh weather. Their main food source is small game and subsistence farming. Their primary crop is corn, which they consider the sacred giver of life. Most of their traditional dishes include some form of corn, and even the "waste" from corn is put to good use. Fresh husks and silk are braided while pliable, then they are dried and used for kindling in cook fires and kilns.
The women are considered to be the guardians and overseers of the home and the hearth, while the responsibility of the men is to hunt, farm, and excavate homes. Miakoda seldom pass up the chance to tell a good joke or play a prank, but to do so in a way that harms another in spirit or body is considered shameful, and is punishable by the tribal elders. They tend to view life as a gift from Istaqa, and consider being alive a thing to be cherished. For this reason, some have called them cowards, but they live each moment to the fullest so as to die with no regrets. As such, they will jump at the chance to host or attend a celebration or festival, and have been known to regularly sneak into other tribes' ceremonies to share in the fun, much to the other tribes' chagrin.
Tribe: Nahimana (Translation: Mystic) Edit
Chief: Enkoodabaoo (translation: one who lives alone)
Region: Nava Opar
Encampment: southern swampland
Patron Spirit: Ahote (translation: restless one) - Great Spirit of Death's Shadow
Nickname: Swamp Walkers
The Nahimana make their home in the southern swamplands of the Amari'z central plains region. The make their homes from the mud of the swamp and the reeds and grasses that grow alongside it. In the drier areas, they build above ground mound houses out of mud and thatch. With the water table so close to the surface, the mounds are never dug into the ground, lest they flood. They gather wild tubers and root vegetables, as well as herbs and edible plants local to the area. Their main source of protein is small deer and rabbit. In the wetter areas, the Nahimana build entire villages of thatched huts among the cypress trees, living just inches above the water. These tree villages are connected with rope bridges and walkways, and some are only accessible by boat. They primarily subsist on fish and the occasional alligator. Gator meat is considered a delicacy, and is highly prized. Gator hunters are considered their bravest warriors, but are notoriously short lived. Still, in their eyes, the trade value of a large gator outweighs the risk to life and limb.
Closer to the tidal flats, the Nahimana live in floating huts, thatched structures built from reeds and driftwood, secured on small rafts that can rise and fall with the tide. These floating houses have the advantage of being portable, and are frequently inhabited by those that fish and troll for shrimp and crawfish. Rather than leave their home to trade with other villages deeper into the swamp, they simply row their home to the village and tie off to the docks to sell and trade their wares. Due to their secluded locale and private nature, the Nahimana are the most secretive and mysterious of all the Na'vari'z tribes, and tend to be suspicious of newcomers. As such, not much is known about them except what they have willingly shared with other tribes at Council.
Of course, there are rumors, but the swamp is a dangerous place, and their village layouts make it nearly impossible to investigate without being seen. Some claim they practice sacrifices and use blood or animal carcases in their sacred rituals, however, the Nahimana Elders have done much in recent years to dissuade this unwelcome mystique. They admit there are many potions known to their medicine men that use snake venom and such, but insist that no one among their tribe has used the darker rituals in quite some time, it is merely a part of their distant past. As a tribe, and as individuals, they consider death a friend that will one day return to take them back into the Great Wheel of Creation. When it comes, they welcome it, but they do not seek it. They respect death, but they do not fear it. When a loved one dies, they light a candle to guide them, so that death might find them and escort them beyond the veil.
Tribe: Nashashuk (Translation: Thundering) Edit
Chief: Akecheta (translation: the fighter)
Encampment: southwestern coastal plain
Patron Spirit: Pethakowe (translation: our grandfather of thunder) - Great Spirit of Sky Fire and the Drums of War
Nickname: War Dancers
Reputation: The Nashashuk tribe inhabit the southwestern coastal areas and river delta. The fertile land lends itself well to a variety of food crops, which are then traded to neighboring tribes for other goods. Their housing consists of wigwams and some thatched structures in the farming regions. Being on the southernmost end of the buffalo migration trails, the Nashashuk have a very limited opportunity to partake of the Great Hunt. During the rest of the year, they are confined to raising livestock and hunting small game.
As such, Nashashuk warriors often become restless, feeling the urge to ride and to fight. The revel in the thrill of battle, considering it the greatest honor to die in defense of their people and their territory, and are in the habit of taking trophies from their kills. Their tribal history has been a long and bloody one, with many raids venturing into neighboring territories, some even as far north as Dry Gulch. They often find themselves at odds with the Iiniwa tribe as the buffalo herds move farther south for the winter. The Nashashuk raiding parties often attack small settlements and wagon trains, preying on the weak and stealing their goods and livestock.
Meanwhile, the women are left at home in the villages, for it is considered a man's duty to wage war and to hunt. The women generally pass their time with weaving and beadwork, tanning and working leather, and tending the crops. Every year at midsummer, the tribe gathers for the Sun Dance. The fiercest warriors pierce their chests with meat hooks and are hung from cross beams around the village in a circular pattern. While hanging, they perform an elaborate "dance" in midair, symbolizing the waning of the sun, and welcoming the journey of the buffalo's migration back toward the southern plains. The tribal medicine men and women burn sage and lavendar in the bonfire while chanting a song of protection, praying that the buffalo will be guided back safely to their wintering grounds.
The younger warriors drum and the younger women do a ritual dance around the fire. The Sun Dance is the most sacred annual ritual of the Nakashuk people. The only thing they hold more dear are thunderstorms. They believe that Grandfather Thunder is the one who guides the buffalo back home by using his Sky Drum to entice them back all summer. Often the raiding parties will forsake an easy prize in order to chase a storm, seeking guidance from the Grandfather, and hoping He will lead them to a bigger prize.