Southern Water Tribe
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Water Tribe money
The Southern Water Tribe is the southern division of the Water Tribe. Its people are scattered in tiny villages and settlements located across the South Pole.
The Southern Tribe was formerly concentrated in one great city, the site of the current village that is Chief Hakoda's home. Worn down by constant Fire Nation raids, the Southern Tribe is weak and almost defenseless against further raids.
Unlike its northern sister tribe, the people of the Southern Water Tribe are teetering on the edge of extinction.
Originally, the Water Tribe existed as one solely in the North Pole. However, following civil unrest, a group of warriors, benders, and healers journeyed to the South Pole to engender a new tribe. Due to the division, the two sects evolved quite differently. The Southern Water Tribe was once a beautiful city filled with Waterbenders, like the Northern Water Tribe, but was destroyed following the attack from the Fire Nation. The Firebenders came and started to capture as many Waterbenders as they could. Despite being outnumbered, the Waterbenders put up a good fight, like trapping a ship in ice creating The Shipwreck. Apparently their fight wasn't good enough; eventually Hama was the only Waterbender left, and she too was taken.
Contact between the two Tribes was severed and the Southern Tribe was split into smaller groups and scattered across the Pole, its natives reduced to dwelling within simple sealskin tents and small igloos.
Six years ago, the Southern Water Tribe was attacked by the Southern Raiders, an elite Fire Nation naval force assigned to raid the South Pole when ordered to. They learned that there was one remaining waterbender in the South Pole, and were assigned to kill her. This turned out to be young Katara. The Water Tribe warriors, led by Chief Hakoda, fought off the attackers bravely, but the leader managed to infiltrate the village. He captured Katara's mother, Kya, and demanded to know who was the Waterbender. Fearing for Katara's life, Kya said she was the last waterbender and was consequently murdered. Katara escaped undiscovered, but her and her family were forever changed by this incident. This is the most recent raid conducted by the Southern Raiders.
The Southern Water Tribe is currently in dire straits, teetering on the brink of extinction. Its remaining population is dwindling due to Fire Nation raids and is currently defenseless, as its warriors left for the Earth Kingdom to aid in the century-long war against the Fire Nation two years ago. With the departure of the sole remaining Waterbender, Katara, and warrior, Sokka, with Aang the Avatar, the people consist mostly of elderly and middle aged women and very young children.
Recently a group of Waterbenders and healers from the Northern Tribe have been sent to the Southern Tribe to help rebuild.
With the end of the war, the Southern Water Tribe have started to rebuild their nation with the help of the Northern Benders.
Government System: Tribal Chiefdom
Head of State & Government: Chief
It is currently unclear who is the true leader of the Southern Water Tribe, though this may be Hakoda. In the episode "The Awakening", Aang refers to Hakoda as Chief Hakoda and he wears braids similar to the ones Chief Arnook wears in the Northern Water Tribe. But it has never been stated if he is an actual descendent of the chief before the war or if his skills as a warrior earned him the position.
Village (Former City)Edit
The Village, positioned on a northern shoreline, is surrounded by a low, roughly circular snow wall, broken up by a snow watchtower (built by Sokka) to the north, and a non-gated entrance to the south. Inside are eight residential tents, arranged semi circularly around a communal fire pit. A giant igloo hugs the east wall, while a handful of smaller ones cluster at the north wall. Outside, to the right of the entrance, is a small igloo-structure that serves as the village outhouse. The remaining population stands at less than two dozen, with ten married and/or elderly women, ten young children, and one domesticated polar bear.
As shown in "The Puppetmaster", the village was much larger sixty years ago, and consisted of dozens of tents and igloos surrounded by a very large ice wall. A central igloo lay in the center of the village, which was circular in design. However, the village has since shrunk in size due to constant raids and the departure of the Water Tribe warriors two years ago.
West of the village lies a Fire Navy ship, torn open on jutting ice shelves. Though the shipwreck is a relic of the Fire Nation's long-ago first strike, its booby-traps are still in working order. In "The Boy in the Iceberg," Aang accidentally set off a flare that was meant to signal the Fire Nation. It is later revealed in "The Puppetmaster" that Hama and the Southern Waterbenders were responsible for the wrecking of the vessel, as a brief scene shows them raising a Fire Navy Ship up with ice and grounding it. The location appears to be the same as seen in "The Boy in the Iceberg".
The Tribe has a unique rite of passage called "Ice Dodging." This is a coming-of-age rite that serves as a young boy's first step in being realized as a true warrior of his tribe. When a male tribe member turns fourteen, he is taken out on a boat with his father and challenged to guide it through iceberg-studded waters. If and when the boy succeeds, he receives a mark on his forehead, symbolizing his defining trait, and is declared a full member of the tribe. The mark of the wise is awarded for leadership quality and making decisions under pressure. The mark of the brave is given for inspirational displays of courage. Finally, the mark of the trust is bestowed upon outsiders who prove themselves worthy of the trust of others.
Certain Southern Tribe members are more than willing to liberally adapt the ritual to new situations. In one instance, tribe member Bato took the fifteen-year-old Sokka, his younger sister Katara, and Aang, a twelve-year-old Airbender, on an "ice dodging" expedition in the rocky waters of the Earth Kingdom. When all cooperated in the ritual, he marked and declared them all full members of his tribe.
The Southern Water Tribe has been noted to be less segregated than the north, which has specific societal roles for men and women. Though the Northern Tribe forbids women from learning Waterbending in anything except a healer's capacity, it is stated on Nick.com's Avatar Information that Katara's father recognized her bending ability and searched for a master to teach her. Overall, the Southern Water Tribe live a more simple, open-minded kind of life. They allow girls and women to enter waterbending training and do not force women to enter into arranged marriages. Instead, they are free to marry whomever they see fit.
However, the Southern Tribe still retains elements of gender dominated society, as Sokka possessed a minor sexist attitude throughout the beginning of the series.
All adult male tribe members are fully-trained warriors. Their weaponry includes clubs, scimitars, and spears made of bone (also used in spearfishing), bladed boomerangs, machetes with whale teeth on the dull side of the blade, and shields. Water Tribe warriors typically wear black and white warpaint on their full face before going into battle. During the invasion of the Fire Nation capital, all the warriors wore wolf headed helmets and suits of armor. Waterbending warriors are all masters of their element and wear face masks to cover their mouths and hoods, although this only currently applies to those of the Northern Water Tribe (the South has no benders apart from Katara). Two years ago, all the men of the Southern Water Tribe were sent to fight in the war, leaving the village defenseless.
In the episode the Boy in The Iceberg, Katara said she was the only waterbender in the whole Southern water Tribe, and this was backed up in the Southern raiders, but in the comic "The Bridge" when the warriors destroyed their own oats to make the Fire Nation think they were already defeated katara was seen destroying the ships with other waterbenders