The Northern Water Tribe is an independent state whose territory spans the entire North Pole. Governed by a hereditary chiefdom, the nation’s power extended to the South Pole for centuries until the 100 Year War forced the North to withdraw from its sister tribe. The Northern and Southern cultures diverged over time, with the North retaining its strict social order and spirituality and the South growing more entrepreneurial and open-minded. Eventually, this cultural split contributed to the Water Tribe Civil War, which resulted in the Southern Water Tribe declaring its independence.
The Northern Water Tribe remains extremely spiritual, and its citizens worship the Moon and Ocean Spirits that reside in the capital city’s Spirit Oasis. Following major spirit attacks on 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.
Economy & Education
While much of its territory is inhospitable tundra, the Northern Water Tribe thrives economically. By combining waterbending and industrial fishing ships, the Northern Water Tribe dominates the fishing industry in the Northern hemisphere. Large textile factories have replaced traditional weaving techniques, and Buffalo Yak fur, a high-quality material unique to the Northern Tundra, is collected and turned into yarn, thread, and cloth. These products are exported overseas for high prices. In modern times, the most promising economic resource of the North is its oil and energy potential. The North controls numerous offshore oil rigs, and its enormous dams produce massive amounts of electricity that are exported to the Earth Federation through submarine power cables.
Over the last century, the North’s Tribal government has developed a robust education system based on the Fire Nation model. Northern Water Tribe Schools teach students typical subjects like history, geography, mathematics, and literature, and children are divided into grades by their age group. As students begin to exhibit waterbending abilities, they are separated from their non-bending peers a few hours a day for waterbending classes. Young waterbenders are encouraged to pursue extra training at private bending academies. Those who can afford to attend university leave the Tribe to study at universities around the world, but the North still offers continuing education through vocational colleges.
In Genji’s Time
The Northern Water Tribe, somewhat isolated form the other nations, has not changed dramatically over the last few decades. It remains a very conservative society based on strict social order and tradition. While most patriarchal and sexist traditions were abandoned after the 100 Year War, vestiges of these customs can still be seen across society. The North sees bending ability as a spiritual gift and have considered it a natural advantage over nonbenders for centuries. Cultivating the skill and spirituality associated with it is a high priority across the North Pole. Waterbenders make up a large proportion of the wealthy and influential.
The capital city of the Northern Water tribe has numerous medical schools and science institutions that mainly teach young female waterbenders to hone their healing abilities and medical skills. These schools have attracted aspiring doctors from around the world, but not many successfully acclimate to the harsh northern climate. While the Southern Water Tribe now trains males in the art of healing, Northerners still consider healing a feminine pursuit, and male doctors are still hard to come by.
Avoiding the spiritual decay of their people is a priority of the North’s leadership. The Northerners fear and revere spirits, especially following dark spirit attacks decades earlier. Children are taught to keep their distance from even the most minor of spirits to avoid angering it and endangering the tribe.
In the last 5 years, the Earth Federation’s booming oil industry has severely undercut Northern Water Tribe prices, causing uncertainty and friction between the nation’s governments. A number of territorial disputes have complicated matters further, with the Northern Water Tribe, the Earth Federation, and the United Republic all claiming ownership of a series of strategically-located islands in the northern seas. The Water Tribe Navy is the foremost naval power in the world, and it monitors these disputed islands closely.