The Arenqii of Amaruq🔗
⟰ “It takes a village…” ⟰
The Arenqii are one of the youngest tribes in the south, made up of several distinct kinships and families. Most of the first and second generation Arenqii are from the Northern Water Tribe, part of the Northern Water Tribe’s expedition to the sister tribe after the Hundred Year War to help rebuild and reintroduce waterbending to their fragile society. After the southern reconstruction began, many northerners decided to settle there permanently and intermingled with the locals. This hybridization of northern and southern peoples coalesced around a small Yutu village that eventually grew into the great Southern Water Tribe capital, Amaruq City. The result was a diverse clan tied together by close bonds of community and a shared northern heritage, but with a willingness to adapt to southern ways of life out of necessity and survival.
Due to their close heritage with the Northern Water Tribe, the Arenqii held onto several features of their homeland. In particular, they have a great pride in the art of waterbending and a sense of a strong and unified community. But living at the south pole came with many changes and hardships, requiring the Arenqii to adapt. For example, rather than confine women to the art of healing, like in the NWT, the Arenqii allow women to practice all forms of waterbending. Although, they tend to recommend military service only to men and still arrange marriages for their children. Their sense of community has also blended with southern ways of life, resulting in a very social-democratic form of society. That is to say, the Arenqii rely on communal decision-making, even distribution of everyday necessities, and a desire to fulfill the common good. As most members of the Water Tribes, the Arenqii also hold their elders and shamans in high regards, often looking to them to lead the community as beacons of wisdom - but unlike other tribes, the ultimate authority rests with the will of the greater community.
- In place of a Chieftain; the Lawspeaker is the representative of Amaruq City, elected by the Yuks to be the leading and unifying voice for all Arenqii people and citizens of Amaruq City. The Lawspeaker must memorize the law, administrate city hall meetings, and enforce decisions made by the people of the city.
- Clan Elders
- Older members of the tribe who have come to deserve a peaceful retirement. The elders are taken care of by the rest of the community.
- Those with close connections to the spirits. Shamans can do many things, from funerals to weddings.
- A strong community needs warriors to keep it safe. Arenqii people are very nationalistic and live to serve both their tribe and the greater Southern Water Tribe, as well.
- In Amaruq City, the Arenqii live a more accommodating lifestyle than other tribes. Thus, many Arenqii people practice a certain trade in the city. These trades can vary widely, from fishermen to interior designers.
- The basic “citizen” unit of the tribe. When Arenqii boys and girls reach adulthood, they undergo a ceremonial rite of passage to acquire full tribal citizenship rights and responsibilities. Only Yuk’s can take part in decision-making and certain public ceremonies.
Kudliks are traditional oil lamps made from stone or pottery that burn the fat of arctic seals or whale-walruses to provide light and warmth
These are potlucks around a fire, usually in a large house or igloo featuring song and dance.
Common pets include polar bear dogs, arctic camels, and white hamsters.
Like their NWT kin, many Arenqii practice this but are not nearly as strict, allowing a son or daughter to refuse the union. However, disarranging a marriage must be done ceremoniously at a gathering of the two families involved.
Arenqii vote publicly by dropping coloured stones into a small pool of water. Each colour represents a position. The colour which the water turns nearest to is the verdict. If the colour is ambiguous or significantly mixed, then an individual tally is taken.
Because the Arenqii do not have deep generational ties to their clan, outsiders are often adopted into the clan, but only after completing the Communal Rite of Passage where the individual must provide a generous worthy contribution of his or her own talents to the benefit of the entire community (i.e., a feast from a great hunt, tanned fur gifts, healing/spiritual ritual, etc.)
Kudlikila weddings are exclusive to only Yuks. While people from other tribes can watch, they can never have one of their own. It’s often frowned upon for people of other nations to be invited, however it's not an official rule. Kudlikila weddings can last anywhere from one day to several. The more feminine outfit is often lighter, while a more masculine outfit for this occasion is darker. Outfits to wear aren’t too rigid, however somewhat formal clothes and keeping with the colour pallet is recommended. These weddings will often happen in the warmer months. Kudlikila will often happen out in the tundra, however not too far from the city. Many tents will be set up, including the largest one which will hold the two partners. Tents will be formed in a semi-circle formation, with the largest one in the center. Elders and Shamans will be the closest, then people of high standing and family members, and after them being friends, and after them would be friends from other clans and nations. Now, what exactly happens at the Kudlikila is up to the partners and their families, however this is a rough list of events that may happen:
- Going on a hunt
- Snapping the neck of a medium sized animal, and having a Shaman look at the organs to predict the longevity of the marriage
- Singing and dancing
- A large feast, often mainly consisting of meats
- Giving gifts to the two partners (Often relating to their profession, such as animal skins to a seamstress, or spears for a warrior)
- Lighting Kudlik lamps
Death is tricky, to say the very least. It is incredibly hard to penetrate the icy earth to create graves. Only people from high society and social positions can be buried beneath the ice. For these people, caskets will be decorated with purples and blue. Shamans are the only ones that can bury and touch the dead, (due to superstition) and will be the main orchestrator of most funerals. However, for the average person, there will be a water burial. This journey is difficult, because the nearest large body of water in Arenqii is far. People will often be set off to sea with something important to them, such as a spear or a piece of jewelry. A shaman will say a few things, perhaps light incense, and the family can say goodbye as the body sinks into the cold.
Heavily influenced by their Northern heritage, the Arenqii hold firm traditions and beliefs in child upbringing. The age-old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” can’t be more relevant, as the tribe is very community oriented and often relies on neighbors for support. Most children are trained along a certain path from the start and most families try to have at least 2 children.
- Twins - Like Twi and La, twins are considered two halves to one whole; yin and yang; a spirit broken in two. Therefore, twins are brought up in a unique path where many activities, rites, and ceremonies require the children to be together.
- Triplets (+) - When a spirit is split a third time at birth, this is very dangerous. Although rare, triplets are seen as evil and weak spirited, susceptible to possession by dark spirits. In Northern traditions, often the smallest of the triplets would be sacrificed to save the souls of the other two. This is not practiced anymore - at least not knowingly or publicly.
Yuk Rites of Passage🔗
To become a fully-realized adult and citizen of the tribe (and the city) young men and women must complete 2 rites; first, either the Long Hunt or the Unity Trade, then the Spirit Walk:
- The Long Hunt - Usually for boys; the boy will spend 4 weeks in the wild, living with the game of his choosing (usually seals). When this time has ended, he will challenge the largest or alpha beast and bring it home for feast
- The Unity Trade - Usually for girls; elder daughters are traded between two families for 4-6 weeks as a way of “uniting” the two families and bringing the community closer together. The daughters become the caretakers for their adopted parents, grandparents, and siblings until the time has passed.
- The Spirit Walk - A 1-4 day journey where a teen is to get in touch with themselves, discover his/her calling, and obtain an appreciation for nature. All Arenqii complete this rite as the final step to becoming a Yuk. After a certain level of maturity, the teen will walk into the wilderness and stay for 1-4 days with no food or sleep, pushing at starvation and sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination. It is said that these hallucinations reveal the individual’s “spirit animal” which will guide them for their lives and help set out a path toward
- “People of the community”
- Gathering place/community hall
- The oil from arctic seal and whale-walrus blubber/fat; has a variety of uses, but especially used in Kudlik lamps
- Tribes person; citizen of Amaruq City
- Friend; or an outsider who is close to the tribe
- Outcast; someone who has willingly or forcibly left the community
- Family, thought often times used as ‘found’ family and not blood relations
Written by Konasi/Mantha & Wang