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Statistics & Foundation
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- 1. Description
- 2. Significance
- 3. Culture
- 4. Outsider Relations & Travel
- 5. Structure
- 6. History
- 7. Notes & References
Tuktoyaktuk (sometimes referred to simply as "Tuk") was once an Inuvialuit hamlet. It has since been reclaimed by Luperci after the outbreak of the virus, but has remained a trading hub like it had been when humans populated the town. The town is stationed on the shores of the Arctic Ocean and the Kugmallit Bay, near the Mackenzie River Delta. The land is barren due to its subarctic climate and its settlement right outside of the Arctic treeline, giving the town an expanse, empty appearance that may seemed like it has been abandoned if not for the activity. Surrounding nature such as the pingos and forests provide a livelier setting and are attractions to curious canines.
The climate of Tuktoyaktuk is cold year round, the average temperatures in the summer only being 11.0 °C (51.8 °F) while the winter is on average −23.8 °C (−10.8 °F). The town also experiences high humidity and inches of snow during the colder months.
Subarctic animals such as fish, duck, geese, whales, seals, and caribou are common in the area surrounding Tuktoyaktuk. There is more wildlife within the nearby Arctic forests, home to hares, beavers, arctic foxes, fishers, wolverines, and other animals that are coveted for their fur by trappers.
Most of the buildings have withstood the test of time because of their hardy martial and only minor, Luperci-made repairs are evident, and much of the human-created artifacts remain standing. During low tide, the reefs surrounding the town can be seen, and local legend claims the structures are petrified caribou, lending the town its name of "resembling a caribou."
Tuktoyaktuk is one of the northernmost trading hubs in the Americas that holds significant importance among traveling merchants and traders. It is a gathering place for seasonal hunters and trappers, looking to collect valuable resources only found in the area, and for traders looking to secure these hard to get items. Some of the resources that Tuktoyaktuk specializes includes valuable furs and whale oil and blubber. It is also a popular attraction for explorers who are attracted to the natural beauty that surrounds the town and uses the location as a place to rest and gather supplies.
Most importantly, however, it is the permanent home of the Qimmiq tribe (in Inuvialuktan: dog), the natives of Tuktoyaktuk that act sort of like overseers of the activity to make sure their territory is not disturbed, physically or spiritually. The tribe has remained in the area ever since the virus first struck, and have remained due to ancestral significance and the caribou herds that they rely on for survival.
Significant characters to come from Tuktoyaktuk include:
The overall culture of the Qimmiq tribe is a traditional, naturalistic way of life that reflects that of the native humans that came before the Luperci. The tribe is centered around spirituality, shamanism, animism, and the importance of unity between the tribe, family members, and canines in general. There is a set authority within the tribe that is centered on a spiritual hierarchy. However, due to Tuktoyaktuk's status as a trading hub, exposure from other cultures has adapted its way into some aspects of the tribe's way of life. The Qimmiq tribe can still be considered digressive to some individuals, and those angered by the Inuvialuit's strict rules on their territory will label them as "mindless savages."
The original species of canine that populated Tuktoyaktuk after the virus struck and composed the original Qimmiq tribe were the Canadian Eskimo Dogs and various dog breeds, who were owned by the humans and performed as sled dogs. The years that followed allowed the integration of local wolf populations (predominantly Northern Timber Wolves) into the tribe and settlement, and as Tuktoyaktuk grew to become a trading hub once more, the tribe has grown to be composed of various hybrids that all hold some degree of dog blood that heralds back to the original tribesmen. Only those who hold their ancestral blood may become high-ranked within the Qimmiq tribe, as it is believed that the blood endows them with the ability to communicate with the spirits of the tribe and the land.
The Qimmiq tribe is composed completely of Luperci individuals, the original members having been infected when the virus wiped out the humans that populated Tuktoyaktuk. Non-Luperci converts have joined in the ranks in the past, as surviving so far north can be difficult for non-shifters. The form mostly used by the tribe is the Optime form that allows them greater dexterity in their lifestyle such as their spiritual practices and caribou herding.
The primary language spoken in the Qimmiq tribe is English and Inuvialuktun (specifically the Siglitun dialect). While Invuialuktun is predominantly spoken between the tribesmen, English is also used and incorporated so that the tribe is able to communicate with visitors that come to Tuktoyaktuk. Most written documents and records are written in both Invuialuktun and English, though only the English pieces are free for outsiders to look at and handle.
Outsiders bring a variety of other languages that include but not limited to: French, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, and German.
Permanent and temporary residents alike reside solely in the Tuktoyaktuk proper. The buildings are the only structures in the area that can provide stable, comfortable shelter, and the Qimmiq tribe does not allow outsiders to camp outside of the town.
Practices & Traditions
Year-round, the Qimmiq tribe herds and hunt caribou, and they have a profound connection to the beasts. They are one of the more revered and honored animals within the tribe, as they are their main source of meat and substance. Respects to Tekkeitsertok are made whenever the caribou are hunted upon. Other, seasonal activities include:
- Spring: Fishing, geese hunting, grizzly hunting
- Summer: Whaling, fishing, gathering berries, medicinal herbs and plants
- Autumn: Fishing, sealing, geese hunting
- Winter: Fishing, sealing, polar bear hunting
Traditional games include:
- Akimuq: high kick game
- Ayahaaq: string game
- Iglukisaaq: juggling rocks
- Mak: played by trying to make a person laugh
- Napaatchak: darts; played with a wooden handle and sharp nail
The Qimmiq tribe's religion revolves around shamanism and animism -- they believe that every thing has a soul (in Inuvialuktun: anirniq, meaning breath; plural anirniit) and that only shamans (in Invuialuktun: angakkuq, plural angakkuit) have enough power to tap into the spiritual world and commune with the spirits. Their belief system does not focus on worship, but rather rituals and practices that are enacted to pay respects to the spirits and to avoid enticing their anger. Punishment from the spirits (i.e. bad weather, food shortages, etc.) could end up in the elimination of the tribe, therefore making the tribe devout to their belies. Any form of spiritual disrespect and disobedience is taken as a threat against the existence of the tribe and will result in dire consequences.
Anirniit & Tuurngait
It is believed that Luperci are made up of three things: a body, a name, and an anirniq, or most likely known as a soul. When a someone dies, it is only the body that dies while the anirniq and name can continue living in a new body. The names of dead relatives are sometimes given to babies to ensure that the anirniq of the relative could live on in a new body. It is believed that animals also have anirniit, and it is with a heavy conscience that the Qimmiq tribe believes that their diet relies on consuming those who have souls. Because the anirniq is freed after death, it is possible for an animal's spirit to freely enact revenge after their killing if the proper ritual is not performed to respect their passing. It is believed that those who bear the name of animals can be embodied with the animal's prowess, as the anirniq of the animal will become a part of them.
There are also spirits who are unconnected by physical bodies. A spirit such as this is called a tuurngaq (plural tuurngait) and can be either benevolent or evil-doing. An angakkuq can call upon tuurngait in times of needs, i.e. healing a tribesman or hunting, or for selfish reasons, i.e. personal gain or attacking others.
Qimmiq tribesmen often decorate their homes and mark trees with symbols that express different ideas as a way to communicate with the living and the dead.
- Bows and arrows: Mostly seen upon trees, it is a sign to show that nearby land can be freely hunted upon without retribution, given that the proper rituals are performed.
- Caribou skulls: Commonly marked within homes and frequently traveled areas, it is a symbol of protection to warn off malicious anirniit that have turned into demons.
- Butterflies: Areas of spiritual importance, such as the angakkuq's home and areas that are barred from hunting, are marked with the symbol of a butterfly. The two triangles also represent the connection between the earth and the spirit world, and places emblazoned with the symbol show that the line between the two worlds are weaker there and can overlap. Living butterflies are also believed to be fortunes of the future, depending on their color.
"A tiny butterfly flapping its wings today may lead to a devastating hurricane weeks from now."
The butterfly effect is a chaos theory that states that every action has a consequence, no matter how small, i.e. the flutter of a butterfly's wings will stir wind that builds up over time and result in a hurricane. The Qimmiq tribe believes that every decision that someone makes will affect the future in some manner, and they are encouraged to lead a virtuous lifestyle because of this. Butterflies are the symbols for this particular line of thought and individuals may interpret what may be in their future depending on the encountered butterfly's color.
Deities & Spirits
While the Qimmiq tribe has no overpowering figure within their belief system, there are multiple deities that represent different ideas and concepts that tribesmen can attempt to appease to yield their desired results.
- Sedna: The goddess of the sea and rivers, and one of the more revered spirits within the tribe. She is commonly referred to as Mother of the Sea or as simply "the goddess," and she is the moderator of waters and sea mammals. It is said that she was once a woman who had her fingertips chopped off, which subsequently became all the sea mammals, and drowned at the bottom of the sea. A vengeful spirit, angakkuit will visit her often to "comb her hair," or brush seaweed, to calm her and to keep the waters peaceful and full of resources.
- Qailertetang: Sedna's companion, she is a goddess that cares for animals, fishers, and hunters and controls the weather. She is considered to be a more benevolent spirit that seeks to protect all living things and to manage the balance of life. She is often in the company of seals, whales, and other sea creatures.
- Tekkeitsertok: A god of the hunt and master of caribou. Tekkeitsertok is also the protector of any creatures that enter any parts of the northern sky. He has the power to bring aid to the creatures who enter his property, or to ban them from the area.
- Akna : A goddess of fertility, childbirth, and medicine.
- Agloolik: A spirit that lives underneath the ice that gives aid to fishermen and hunters.
There are also minor spirits that the tribe are aware and wary of.
- Ijiraq: A shape shifter who kidnaps children, hides them away, and abandons them.
- Kigatilik: A vicious, violent demon, especially known for killing angakkuit.
- Ishigaq: Little people, similar to fairies, that don't leave footprints. Mischievous spirits that like to cause trouble, such as making tools go missing or scaring away prey.
- Amarok: A gigantic gray wolf that is said to stalk and devour any person foolish enough to hunt alone at night. Amaroks hunt alone and are never seen together.
Angakkuit are the shamans of the Qimmiq tribe, and act as a healer, spiritualist, and leader all at once. An angakkuq is more often than not bigender (see Two-Spirit) and identifies as both a man and a woman. It is rare for an angakkuq to be cisgender, and it is believed that those angakkuit are spiritually weaker than bigender angakkuit. Only an angakkuq is able to communicate with the spirits and interact with them directly, translating their will and messages for the tribe to adhere. Communion with the spirit world is traditionally done with rituals that involve charms and dances. Angakkuit oftentimes don the masks of animals, made of sealskin, in order to inhibit the animal's powers while in a ritual.
- Bladders: The Qimmiq tribe believed that the anirniq of animals was found within their bladders, and as such these organs are treated with respect and always harvested from the hunts. To honor the hunted, their bladders would be returned to the sea so that their anirniit could be calmed and move on to find a new body to inhibit.
- Dances: Dancing is one of the more traditional forms of communication within the tribe. It is one of the few ways for lower-ranked tribesmen to convey thoughts to the spirits, and dances are often held to appease the spirits. While mostly religious in nature, dances are also used to welcome travelers to Tuktoyaktuk and to celebrate and honor hunts.
- Quenching thirst: Whenever animals are killed in hunts, it is customary to drip melted snow into their mouths to sate the thirst of the animal's anirniq. It is a sign of honor and a way for a tribesman to express their gratitude and hope for the anirniq to return to a new body.
4. Outsider Relations & Travel
If your area is in Europe, think about the connections it may have to other prominent European areas -- for example, is it along any of the trade routes of the maritime map? Is it a port? Mediterranean sailing is much more common than Atlantic sailing, so keep that in mind! Arctic sailing is a bit beyond our Luperci; they do not possess ice-breakers or much of the requisite technology. Perhaps your area traded for horses in Bucharest.
If you plan to have a lot of characters get to 'Souls through this area, make sure to include some information about how long it would take to travel to 'Souls. O:
How do canines regard outsiders? Are they a cohesive, tightly-knit group or are they a quarrelsome group, prone to outbursts of disobedience or even "mutiny? If there are any civilizations that are nearby with which your area interacts, you can give them a subheader under here, even.
Law & Justice
- Yay history!
7. Notes & References