The Ocean Folk are the indigenous people who live on the eastern shores of the Earth Federation. Similar to the Foggy Swamp Tribe, their ancestors were waterbenders who migrated south along the eastern side of the continent. They married earthbenders and became an integrated society, mixing Northern Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom traditions together.
Traditionally, the Ocean Folk are a clan-based society. Clans represented specific bending lineages and roles in the community. For example, the Clay Clan are strong earthbenders who were charged with building structures in their floating cities. Another clan, the Boat Clan, were traditionally fisherfolk and used waterbending to fish in the sea around their territories.
They once controlled half of the northeastern peninsula and traded peacefully with the Earth Kingdom states, but Chin the Conqueror and the 46th Earth King took over their lands and conquered the people. The fighting decimated their population. Eventually, Avatar Kyoshi defeated Chin, and forced the Earth King to restore political power to commoners and regional kings. This included rebuilding relations with the Ocean Folk. Like the King of Omashu, the Queen of the Ocean Folk became a formally recognized leader and subordinate to the Earth King.
Following the reinstallment of their own ruler, the Ocean Folk tried to return to their traditional ways of life. However, they encountered Earth Kingdom colonizers who had taken their villages and created vast farmlands. This resulted in skirmishes and unrest that prompted a military response from the Earth King. A treaty was negotiated– the Ocean Folk relinquished their right to their homelands and vowed not to attack the settlers. In return, they would be free to build new homes on the eastern coast and could live without fear of being conquered again. The Ocean Folk now build their homes on the famous “floating cities” made of clay and vine.
The Twin Spirits
Much like their Northern Water Tribe ancestors, the Ocean Folk revere twin spirits: Di and Shui, the earth and water spirits, respectively. The spirits also represent female and male energies. A story told by spiritual elders explain this relationship:
“The men are blessed by Shui, the water spirit, to protect the seas they sail and keep the ocean rich with fish. Women are blessed by Di, the earth spirit, who ensures they can nourish their families.”
Sometimes, a child is born blessed by both spirits, and are allowed to choose which gender they wish to live as. These children are called the “Twice-Blessed” and, when grown up, are treated as important spiritual advisers.
In Genji’s Time
The Ocean Folk have a tenuous peace with the Earth Federation: in exchange for some of their own sovereignty, the Ocean Folk must send some of their strongest benders to the Dai Li when requested. Even with this unusual treaty, the Ocean Folk live in peace and enjoy a moderate amount of tourism from those who travel to see the famous floating cities.
In addition, the Ocean Folk have sought to reclaim their traditional ways of life. Traditional fishing and building methods are still used throughout their territories. And traditional sports such as Eel-Dolphin Racing have gained a small amount of popularity outside of Ocean Folk territories.
(Written by Caitlyn)
Ocean Folk FAQ
How do the Ocean Folk feel about LGBTQ+ people?
The Ocean Folk are very accepting of LGBTQ+ people. For example, they consider transgender (“twice-blessed”) individuals as important spiritual advisors to the tribe.
The Legend of Genji is a volunteer fan-project focused on creating a new Avatar webcomic. This is an unofficial project and we are not affiliated with the original creators, Nickelodeon, or Viacom. Original content from Avatar The Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra belong to the original creators. The Ocean Folk is an original concept. Any and all creations from the show belong to the creators.