The Dawn of a New Age
The Chakoi live in the southern area of western Vastonia from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. This area is known to get hotter than 100 degrees in the summer, and can drop to 40 degrees below zero with heavy snows in the winter. The region is so dry that when it rains it often floods. This rolling land is covered with grassland and a few mountains. The Chakoi are closely related to the more northerly Manoi but the major difference is the fact that most of the different Chakoi tribes are nomadic, and they live along the rivers and streams where the land is more fertile. They generally live in tents known as teepees, built with long poles stuck in the ground to form a circle. The poles are fastened with rope, and covered with hides that are decorated with paintings of animals, stars and other objects. During the warmer months most of the Chakoi men wear little more then breech clouts, during the cold weather the men put on robes and high boots made from hides. The women wear loosely-fitting, long-sleeved dresses decorated with strips of fur, leather, and feathers. The Chakoi are hunter gathers they hunt with bows and arrows and generally prefer not to use the swords of the eastern races. The Chakoi try to use all the parts of their kills, making ropes, shields, tools, and clothing. One of the things that connect all of the Chakoi tribes is a tradition they refer to as a Vision Quest. When a boy became a man he will seek a spirit that will protect him for the rest of his life. First the boy goes into a sweat lodge. Inside the lodge stones are heated and then water is poured over the stones to produce steam. The boy prays as the hot steam purifies his body. After the sweat lodge the boy jumps into cold water. Next he is taken to a remote place and left without food and water. The boy wears only his breech clout and moccasins. For the next three or four days the boy prays for a special vision. After this men from the tribe come to help the boy back to the camp. After cleaning up and eating the boy is taken to the shaman who interprets his vision. After the shaman interpreted the dream the village has a feast to celebrate the boy becoming a man, and the boy is given his adult name. Unlike their northern relatives, the Chakoi do not actively wage war against one another, theirs is a brutal life of the hunt. This is not to say that they do not engage in warfare, and when they do they are quiet adapt at it with their hunting skills coming in quiet handy. The most notable tribes are the Tatanka, Shaui, Anokasan, Fvla, and Ossi.
The Shaui, are a Chakoi tribe who live among the Rocky Mountains, often wintering along the banks of the Flathead River so they could hunt deer, elk, moose, antelope and bear. Like most nomadic, buffalo-hunting tribes they summer on the Great Plains, living in a circular village with the center often the site of ceremony and hunting strategy sessions. The Shaui warriors are known for disguising themselves as animals in hides and fur so their prey cannot detect their human scent. The Shaui are gifted artists, with many teepees painted with exquisite designs and ceremonial clothing that is fringed and decorated with quillwork, beads and paint. The basic social unit of the Shaui, is the band, since the band was defined by place of residence, rather than by kinship, a person is free to leave one band and join another, which tends to ameliorate leadership disputes.
The Anokasan have a more varied history than many of the other Chakoi tribes. Before migrating south to the plains, the Anokasan were a Manoi woodlands tribe living in the fertile prairie and wooded hills along the banks of the Missouri and Red rivers. They lived not in teepees at this time, but in the bark wigwams typical of some woodlands people, and ate a diet based in wild rice rather than meat. But the Anokasan were not as aggressive as their neighbors and soon they moved south, and adapted a lifestyle centered on the hunt, and living in teepees. During the winter months, the Anokasan set up camp in sheltered areas near water sources. The rest of the year, however, they are nomadic, following the game herds. When a herd is located, camp will be set in the traditional circle and plans for the hunt get underway.
The Ossi, live in a vast area of rugged high country. The country is rough, and in winter they live in rows of teepees placed along sheltered canyons while hunting deer, elk, antelope and small game. When spring arrives and the Ossi move onto the plains to follow the game, they set up camp in the more traditional circles. Ossi hunters use huge spears, sometimes 14-feet long, instead of bows and arrows to kill their game. They considered hunting with a lance a sign of pride. The Ossi are one of the few Chakoi tribes that are known for making raids, these are not to wage war but to take captives to replace loss of life in their tribe.
The Nashoba were originally closely related to the Koi, but as time progressed the Nashoba became a gathering of many separate people representing tribes from distant areas, now identifying culturally as one people. In contrast to most of the other Chakoi the Nashoba are town dwellers and build their dwellings along cavern walls and their traditional economy is based on agriculture and trade. Corn is a staple food for the Nashoba people, and they use their pottery to hold food and water, making the Nashoba one of the most unique of the Chakoi tribes. The Nashoba also used no written symbols for their native language; their language is spoken only.
The Tatanka are the easternmost of the Chakoi tribes, and occupying lands bordering the midlands to the south of Senet. The Tatanka are divided into three ethnic groups, the larger of which are divided into sub-groups, and further branched into bands. The Tatanka are closely related to the Okwaho, but after their migration to the planes and the adoption the hunt the Tatanka became a part of Chakoi. The Tatanka now live a typical Chakoi lifestyle. Mostly nomadic, they survive on meat and gather vegetables, yet they continue to live in lodges. The Tatanka are becoming notorious for long-distance raids into Senet as far east as the Grand Canyon. These raids are meant to get new metal tools to make the Tatanka life easier.
The Kois range over southeastern Vastonia. They are a powerful and warlike tribe, anxious to defend their territory and constantly at enmity with the other Chakoi tribes. The Senetiaon Army, in their various confrontations, have found them to be fierce warriors and skillful strategists, this makes the Koi somewhat of an enigma within the Chakoi tribes. The nomadic Koi live in smaller tents instead of teepee, hunting game, and using dogs to pull travois loaded with their possessions. Trade between the Nashoba peoples and the Koi have became important to both groups. The Koi exchanged meat, hides, and tools for maize, corn, and woven cotton goods.
The Fvla, live in the Yellowstone river valley and are known to construct some of the largest teepees. The Fvla are the only matrilineal, and matriarchal Chakoi tribe, and women have always held a very significant role within the tribe. Originally the Fvla resided in the northern basin of the Missouri River where the migrating Tatanka first met them in the Pryor Mountains, then the Fvla began migrating westerly to the Black Hills. Pushed southward by the invading Anokasan, the Fvla moved down the Platte River basin to the Arkansas River area. There they fought with the Koi, who already occupied this land. The Fvla are fiercely independent and have become very successful warriors. The Fvla are one of the most nomadic of the Chakoi, they only camp during the winter and only when there is adequate wood and game resources. In desperate times some Fvla bands will camp together.
The Chukfi live along the Platte, Loup and Republican Rivers. The Chukfi are not typically known as a Chakoi tribe in the context of traditional representations; their villages are constructed of earthen lodges and tend to be permanent. They are an agricultural people who grow corn, beans, pumpkins and squash. They do take on some of the cultural attributes of their cousins, but the hunter culture remains secondary to their agricultural culture. The Chukfi are a matrilineal people; ancestral descent is through the mother and a young couple will traditionally move into the bride’s parents’ lodge. Both women and men are active in political life, with both taking decision-making responsibilities. Women tend to be responsible for decisions about resource allocation, trade, and inter-lodge social negotiations, while men are responsible for decisions which pertained to hunting, war, and spiritual/health issues.