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Water Tribe
Physical Information

North & South Pole, Foggy Swamp



Form of Government

Confederate Chiefdom

Head of State

Tribal Chiefs


Water Tribe money


Tribal Chief


Chief Arnook; Chief Hakoda

First Appearance

The Southern Tribe: The Boy in the Iceberg
The Northern Tribe: The Waterbending Master
The Foggy Swamp Tribe: The Swamp

The Water Tribe is a collective term for a nation of people who practice Waterbending. One of the series' "Four Nations," the Water Tribe is divided into two nation-states: the Southern Water Tribe, which inhabits the South Pole, and the Northern Water Tribe, which inhabits the North Pole. There is also a small population of Waterbenders located in the swamps of the Earth Kingdom.

The Water Tribe is far less powerful than either the Earth Kingdom or the Fire Nation. Its economy is very small and is dependent on ocean resources. This is because of the relatively small population of the Water Tribes as the third most populous nation.

The Water Tribe was recently engaged in a war with the Fire Nation. The Southern tribe was driven to the brink of extinction through a series of raids, and the Northern tribe proved to be unable to provide any resources for the war outside its borders. With the war's conclusion, a reconstruction effort has begun for the Southern tribe.



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Ethnically homogeneous, members of both tribes typically have light or deep brown hair, blue eyes and light brown/tan skintone. Water Tribe clothing is typically a set of blue anorak and trousers lined and trimmed with white fur, and worn with mittens and mukluks. Men may wear their hair long and half-up or in short ponytails (also known as "warrior's wolf tails"). Women plait and braid their hair in various styles, sometimes with accent beads, and many sport "hair loopies" in various styles. In the Northern Water Tribe, males appear to wear a darker blue than those of the Southern Water Tribe. In the Foggy Swamp Tribe, they wear very little, just leaf-hats, loincloths, and wristbands, all in green, reflecting the color of the water in their tribe.

National EmblemEdit

The national emblem of the Water Tribe is a circle comprised of a waning (if up is taken to be north and the orbit of the show's moon assumed to be the same as the Earth's Moon) crescent moon and three wavy horizontal lines representing ocean water. The emblem represents the relationship between Tui and La, the Moon and Ocean Spirits, who exist in perfect harmony with one another, like that of Yin and Yang. It is displayed on the pennant of the watchtower in the Southern Tribe Village, and is common in the architecture of the Northern Water Tribe.


The Water Tribe is divided into three distinct groups, primarily based on their geography and affinity for Waterbending. The Southern Tribe occupies the Southern Pole with Katara as its only known bending member, the art having been almost completely erased from the South Pole as a direct result of the Fire Nation raids. The Northern Tribe consists of the majority of the official remnants of their civilization, occupying the North Pole with a multitude of able benders. Though separated, the southern and northern tribes continued to remain in contact prior to the war and at one time even retained a custom of coming together during a new moon. The Foggy Swamp Tribe occupies a swamp in the Earth Kingdom, while most, if not all, of its members are competent benders with some unique talents.

The names of the Southern and Northern tribes' citizens often includes one or two "K"s (Katara, Hakoda, Sokka, Pakku, Kya, Kuruk, Kanna, Arnook, etc), such as happens in Fire Nation with the "Z". However, this doesn't happen in the Foggy Swamp Tribe.


Each of the Four Nations is influenced by their own distinct, dominant season. The Water Tribe's dominant season is winter. To an effect, more Waterbenders are born during winter than any other season and their powers are at their strongest during the season due to the longer nights. In actuality, both polar Tribes experience winter-like weather consistently, with snow falling year-round.

Natural Resources and FoodsEdit

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Inhabiting frozen poles near the seas, the Water Tribes inherently are dependent on the oceans for a majority of their natural resources and well as the bounty of the frozen tundra. Sea prunes are a favorite, while giant sea crabs are considered a delicious delicacy to those in the Northern Sea. Squid and seaweed can be used to make a wide variety of dishes, including soup, seasoning, and even bread and cookies.

Skins from seals are used to create tents in the Southern Water Tribe. Pelts from polar bears and other furry animals are used as clothing and to cover barren surfaces. Naturally, hunters and fishermen of the Water Tribes are some of the best in the world in their field.

The Foggy Swamp Tribe uses the plants and fauna in their swamp to provide them with all they need, and they eat small game, such as Possum Chicken, fish and giant bugs.


Main article: Politics in the World of Avatar

System: Patriarchal or Matriarchal Chiefdom/Patriarchal or Matriarchal Tribalist

Head of State and Head of Government: Tribal Chief


Main article: Military of the Water Tribe As a result of the strong customary theme expressed by the two major sects, the Water Tribes militia is considerably less sophisticated than that of the recently industrialized Earth Kingdom or the highly industrialized Fire Nation. Nevertheless, the tribes also exhibit deep pride and willpower typical of a warrior race.



All adult male tribe members are fully-trained warriors. Their weaponry includes clubs, bladed boomerangs, spears made of bone (also used in spearfishing), scimitars, and machetes laced with whale teeth on the dull side of the blade. Water Tribe warriors typically wear black and white warpaint on their full face before going into battle. Waterbending warriors of the Northern Tribe are all masters of their element and wear face masks to cover their mouths and hoods. When the Fire Nation attacked the Northern Water Tribe, Chief Arnook called for warriors to volunteer for a dangerous mission. When they approached, Arnook marked three red lines on their foreheads with red paint.


The more organized Northern Water Tribe makes use of armories located on the warrior training grounds which serve as weapons storage and war planning rooms where orders are distributed. Their Waterbenders engender and utilize a countless amount of iceberg spikes scattered across the ocean just outside the city as a first line of defense against Fire Nation ships. The spikes are capable of ripping through solid metal and sinking even the largest ships. The currents in the iceberg fields are known to be extremely dangerous, but are easily traversed by Water Tribe vessels. The iceberg spikes themselves are also used as cover for warriors to hide behind, enabling to easily ambush any unwanted visitors.


Southern Water Tribe Warriors

While its sister tribe had been the victim of raids, thanks to a mixture of strong, man-made defenses and imposing, natural icy landscape, the Northern Water Tribe has sufficiently been able to stave off the Fire Nation for over eighty-five years.


Two years before the Avatar returned, all the men of the Southern Water Tribe were sent to fight in the war, leaving their villages defenseless. In the "The Guru," the warriors are finally seen again, protecting the shores of Chameleon Bay, the single inlet leading directly to the outskirts of Ba Sing Se. The warriors had apparently achieved this so far with the use of "tangle mines," buoyant, terrible smelling make-shift mines of Hakoda's invention, which he affectionately nicknames the "stink n' sink." The tangle mines are constructed with a bamboo frame and covered with dried animal skin, while the inside is filled with skunkfish and seaweed. These mines float in the water and detonate when a ship hits them. When the mines detonate, they erupt seaweed, which tangles around the propeller of the ship, incapacitating it, and skunkfish, which terrible smell forces people to abandon ship. Though a very unusual type of mine, they had apparently been quite effective.


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The ships of the Southern Tribe seem to be cutter sailing ships, containing wooden hulls and utilizing the wind for propulsion. The boats are shown to be operated by at least two people, one to maintain the main sail and one to control the jib, a smaller sail at the rear. The ships appear to be designed more for use as a transport vessel than combat.

The Northern Water Tribe's most common ship is a double-hulled vessel powered by Waterbending. Though its small, compact size enables it to be used for a variety of applications, including transporting civilians across the canals within the city, its main purpose is to be used for short, open ocean trips. Even though its not necessarily designed for long voyages, it is capable of being used to travel over a thousand miles and withstanding the harshest ocean conditions. Warriors use this ship to patrol and protect the waters just outside the Northern Water Tribe.

Prior to the Day of Black Sun, Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe commissioned the Mechanist, an Earth Kingdom inventor, to build a series of Waterbending Powered Submarines for use in the invasion of the Fire Nation Capital. Although manufactured by the Earth Kingdom, these submarines can only be powered by Waterbending. These subs resemble large whales in design, and are plated in gold shielding. These subs are perfect for ferrying dozens of troops to enemy locations, as well as at least one Earthbending Powered Tank. These subs are very strong and are capable of shooting Ice Torpedoes, which are perfect for blasting enemy barricades. However, these subs have a limited air supply, and must constantly resurface.

The Foggy Swamp Tribe uses Swamp Skiffs.


  • Since it was unknown by the other tribes and has just recently found, it is unknown if the Foggy Swamp Tribe will be welcomed in with the main two tribes.
  • All three sub-styles of Waterbending were developed by a diffrent tribe. Healing by the Northern Tribe, Plantbending by the Swamp Tribe, and Bloodbending by a waterbender from the Southern Tribe using Southern styles.

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