Hipalúka The Palúka People


The Palúka live along the northeastern coast of the top-right continent. They are divided into three groups, or tribes, but their political bonds are strong, and they co-operate in times of war or other hardship. They speak mutually intelligible dialects of the Palúkan language, and within each tribe there are further divisions into bands, and then into families and societies.

The southernmost tribe lives in the humid continental zone, and the people are semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers, divided into five inland bands and two coastal bands. The inland is forested and relative flat, and they hunt mostly fish from the Hisako river (the one that goes almost directly West-East in my map above), and small game, making a larger kill such as deer or elk once a month on average. On the coast, they hunt saltwater fish from canoes, seabirds, and small game. These two groups have a permanent relationship based on trade; the inland bands exchange berries, nuts, and tubers for the coastal bands' fish and birds.

The central tribe lives in the taiga, and is split into three, small bands who are politically surprisingly strong, as they control access to the area's peat bogs, which they trade for hides and pemmican from the north, and other foodstuffs from the south during the long winter. The central bands are sedentary, and hunt rodents and deer.

The northern tribe lives in the tundra, and is split into two mostly nomadic bands, depending on migratory herds of reindeer and wild ponies. There is a third northern band that lives on the coast, and hunts seals, fish, and seabirds. They supplement their diet with rabbits, lemmings, and ground-nesting birds, and trade with both the central tribes, exchanging hides, and pemmican for plant-products such as fibre rope, and peat for fuel.

Available resources: (and also band totems, as they're nice and organized in this section)

The southern inland bands have forests, so plenty of fertile soil (though they haven't done anything about that yet), lots of tasty and useful plants growing all around them, and wood. Their totem is the sabre-tooth.

The southern coastal bands have a large river mouth, but they only live on the northern side of it - the river's name Hisako means "it swallows things", and indeed, it is prone to flooding with the spring melt. They also have forests. Their totem is the lion.

The central bands have peat, several lakes (which I ought to have marked on the map), and a medium-sized river, though they live only inland, so don't control its mouth. Their totem is the bear.

The northern nomadic bands have land occupied by reindeer and wild ponies. That's about it, really. Their totem is the wolf.

The northern coastal band has basically nothing. Its totem is the orca.


At this point, they're pretty much mesolithic, and are about to figure out how to become neolithic in the next couple of centuries. So they have stone- or bone-tipped spears, spear-throwers, wooden or bone clubs with stone heads, pointy sticks, rocks, slings, and bolas.


They speak a language lexically similar to Lakota, because Lakota has some awesome words in it. It exists in a dialect continuum, also like Lakota and Dakota (completely regular sound changes for the most part, and only very occasionally a different meaning or a different word), because that way I'll have several proto-dialects which can interact and create interesting or odd-looking borrowings and what not. A sample:

Okin damna. Palúglan hémari. Himoke gaha. oki-un da-mna || Palúka-ó-la-in héma-ri || hi-moke gaha help-PL IRR-1.PL.NOM || Palúka-mouth-CAUS-NMLZ || ABS.PAT-steal IMP.NEG We will help them. He can't speak Palúka. Do not steal.

[b]Religion:[/b] All three tribes, despite their very different lifestyles, have the same system of spirituality - every being or object with a strong cultural association has a spirit that will one day be born as a member of the Palúka nation. In order to ensure the continued existence of the nation, then, it is necessary to respect these spirits, and to appease them with blood-sacrifices when there is suffering. Sacrifices are usually no more than a fingerful of blood, and are made by pricking the ear lobes, the thighs, or the inside of the elbows with a particular kind of thorn. The most powerful spirits are the dangerous animals: bear, wolf, cave lion, sabre-tooth cat, and orca. Each band has the protection of one of these spirits, but if they do something wrong, the spirit will take revenge on its host band. These are the spirits to which blood-sacrifices are made, but if individual sacrifices don't work, then a song is given by one of the bands, and if that fails to bring a result, a special hunt is organized, where it is up to the entire nation to kill at least one of these totem animals, in order to prove that they're worthy of its protection. Other spirit animals include reindeer, elk, rabbit, squirrel, salmon, seagull, seal. Spirit plants include moss, horsetail, blueberry, raspberry, acorn. Spirit objects include all weapons and tools, and notably odd-looking rocks, shells, feathers, etc. The idea that spirits are born into the clan is reflected in their naming practices; the baby is named after the first dead spirit animal or broken spirit object the mother sees after giving birth, in recognition of the belief that its spirit has moved into the new baby.

[b]Social structure:[/b] The spiritual leader of the Palúka nation is called [b]gunagazé[/b], which literally means "man who moves with spirits". There is only one [i]gunagazé[/i] at a time, and he is selected in infancy by the previous one. His job is to determine the will of the spirits, and to lead songs and other ceremonies. He is the most important person in the whole clan, but he can't make decisions without the support of the chiefs. The [b]níholaka[/b] is the [i]woman who heals people[/i]. There is a [i]níholaka[/i] in each band, and it is her job to keep the people fit and healthy. She has no special privileges under normal circumstances, but if there is general sickness, then she can tell even the [i]gunagazé[/i] what to do. The [i]níholaka[/i] is not allowed to marry, and doesn't belong to any society. Each band has a [b]sosgu[/b], literally [i]high man[/i], or a chief. They are responsible for discipline and justice within the band, and decide where to camp, where to hunt, etc. Each tribe has a [i]sosgu[/i], who can be called [b]asosgu[/b] [i]higher man[/i], who is responsible for inter-tribal relations and trade. The [i]asosgu[/i] come together once every few months, which forms the [b]Sosgiǧa[/b], the Council of Five. Chiefhood is not hereditary, and must be earned by proving that one is a better warrior or hunter than the present chief. Female [i]sosgu[/i] are not unheard of, but it is, for physical reasons, generally harder for them to attain chiefhood. The [i]asosgu[/i] are chosen by the [i]Sosgiǧa[/i] upon the death of one of their members. Within each band, there are societies, named after spirit animals such as rabbit, salmon, etc.; opposite-sex members of a society are referred to as siblings, and are considered [b]ákun[/b] [i]taboo relatives[/i]. A child is born to the same society as the mother, and all opposite-sex members of that society are [i]ákun[/i], as are all female members of the father's society (for men), and all male members of the father's (for women). There is a system of avoidance, but it is not as heavy as Aboriginal Australian systems, and it is only reflected in behaviour, not in language; after the adulthood ceremony, one must keep a respectful distance from one's [i]ákun[/i]. This means such things as not conversing them for no apparent reason, avoiding physical contact, etc. [b]Háke[/b] ("the law of taboo") can only be broken in emergencies. While opposite-sex members of one's own society are [i]ákun[/i], same-sex members are the opposite, [b]hógun[/b]. It is expected that [i]hógun[/i] be close, or at the very least, willing to co-operate with each other, but they are still not allowed to marry each other. The elder [i]hógun[/i] are expected to teach the younger [i]hógun[/i] of their own society, and no one else. In addition to the familial societies, there is usually at least one [b]gohóga[/b], or warrior society, within a band, to which belong all adult males, and all childless women. The warrior societies are named after the totem animals (bear, wolf, lion, sabre-toot, orca). Once a woman becomes pregnant, she leaves the [i]gohóga[/i] permanently. The existence of the [i]gohóga[/i] means that all adult men are [i]hógun[/i], and only children and their mothers have neutral relations who are neither [i]hógun[/i] nor [i]ákun[/i]. Membership of a familial society is shown by wearing a strip of animal skin corresponding to the name of the society, and is common to all tribes - a Rabbit man from the northern coastal band can't marry a Rabbit woman from a southern inland band, no matter how unrelated they might be. Membership of a warrior society is shown by being allowed to wear a necklace of totem-animal teeth. The family is structured, outside of the society, as one father, one mother, and their children. Other combinations are not unheard of, but the children of a man who has two wives belong to both wives' societies, which increases the number of their [i]ákun[/i].

In case this was unclear, here are two examples (for simplicity, this only includes blood-relations): --Ego's mother is Rabbit, and his father is Elk. Ego and his siblings are Rabbit.

--Ego's brothers are [i]hógun[/i], while his sisters are [i]ákun[/i].

--Ego's mother's brothers are [i]hógun[/i], while his mother's sisters are [i]ákun[/i].

--Ego's mother's father is [i]hóga[/i], and his mother's mother is [i]áke[/i].

--Ego's father's brothers are neutral (until Ego joins the [i]gohóga[/i]), while his father's sisters are [i]ákun[/i].

--Ego's father's father is neutral (until Ego joins the [i]gohóga[/i]), while his father's mother is [i]áke[/i].

--Ego's wife cannot be Rabbit or Elk, and therefore neither can his children.

--Ego's daughters are [i]ákun[/i], while his sons are [i]hógun[/i].

--Ego's mother is Rabbit, and her father is Elk. Ego and her siblings are also Rabbit.

--Ego's brothers are [i]ákun[/i], while her sisters are [i]hógun[/i].

--Ego's mother's brothers are [i]ákun[/i], while her mother's sisters are [i]hógun[/i].

--Ego's mother's father is [i]áke[/i], while her mother's mother is [i]hóga[/i].

--Ego's father's brothers are [i]ákun[/i], while her father's sisters are neutral (unless Ego and her paternal aunts are in the [i]gohóga[/i]).

--Ego's father's father is [i]áke[/i], while her father's mother is neutral (unless Ego and her paternal grandmother are in the [i]gohóga[/i]).

--Ego's husband cannot be Rabbit or Elk, but her children must be Rabbit.

--Ego's husband cannot be Coyote or Fox (like her grandfathers), unless he is younger than her (by any number of years or months).

--Ego's children are all [i]hógun[/i]. Non-heterosexuality is generally not viewed as problematic, but sexual activity taking place exclusively between two males, or two females, is discouraged. Some degree of bisexuality is considered normal, however, and premarital homosex is not seen as harmful. In fact, any premarital sex is fine, unless it's with an [i]áke[/i] or a [i]hóga[/i]; but if a woman becomes pregnant, she has to marry the last man she had sex with, whether or not he was the father.

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