The Northern Water Tribe is an independent state that covers the entire North Pole. Its power also covered the South Pole until the Hundred Year War forced the Northern Water Tribe to lose contact with its sister tribe. The Northern and Southern Water Tribe cultures split from each other over 100 years; the North kept its strict social structure and spirituality, while the South became more open-minded and progressive. The Southern Water Tribe gained true independence from the North only after the Water Tribe Civil War and Avatar Korra declaring its independence in 171 AG.
The Northern Water Tribe remains extremely spiritual, and its citizens worship the Moon and Ocean Spirits in the Spirit Oasis. Following major spirit attacks on Agna Qel’a, the capital city, the Northern Spirit Portal was declared off-limits for all citizens. It is heavily guarded by the White Lotus, and only royalty and spiritual leaders are allowed access.
In Genji’s Time
The Northern Water Tribe has not changed much over the last few decades because of its partial isolation from other nations. It remains a very conservative society based on strict social order and tradition. While most patriarchal and sexist traditions were abandoned after the Hundred Year War, traces of these beliefs can still be felt across society. For example, most women are still trained in the art of healing, and male doctors are pretty rare. The people of the North see the ability to bend as a spiritual gift and considers it a natural advantage over nonbenders for centuries. (Which makes situations like Nami’s, where she has great spiritual powers but no bending, very strange.)
Avoiding the spiritual decay of their people is of great importance to the North’s leadership. The Northerners fear spirits, especially following dark spirit attacks during Chief Unalaq’s rule decades earlier. Children are taught to keep their distance from even the most minor of spirits to avoid angering it and endangering the tribe.
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