The Northern Water Tribe

The Water Tribe is a collective term for a nation of people who practice waterbending. It is divided into two nation-states: the Southern Water Tribe which inhabits the South Pole, and the Northern Water Tribe which inhabits the North Pole. There is also a small population of waterbenders located in the swamps of the Earth Kingdom. The Water Tribe is home to an order of men and women who practice waterbending: the mystical art of hydrokinesis.

Please note, the information here is mostly taken from, or derived from the Avatar Wiki.


The Northern Water Tribe survived a century of war with the Fire Nation due to the defenses their icy terrain provides. Resting on the shores of the Northern Sea, behind high walls of ice and an ice gate and canal lock system passable only by the use of waterbending, there lies a large and bustling monarchic nation-state. The capital city features a palace, an army and many skilled warriors, healers, waterbenders and a hidden oasis which houses Tui and La, the Moon and Ocean Spirits. Flanked by icy sidewalks, the city roadways are canals, which people travel by gondola.

In the aftermath of the Fire Nation's siege, select benders and healers from the Northern Tribe left for the South Pole in an effort to rebuild their ravaged sister tribe.


The Northern Water Tribe throne room


  • Current Ruler: Chief Arnook
  • System: Patriarchal Monarcy
  • Head of State: Chief
  • Religious Authority: Unknown; Perhaps the Priests that tend to the Spirit Oasis and Temple


As a result of the strong customary theme expressed by the two major sects, the Water Tribes militia is considerably less sophisticated than that of the recently industrialized Earth Kingdom or the highly industrialized Fire Nation. Nevertheless, the tribes also exhibit deep pride and willpower typical of a warrior race.

All adult male tribe members are fully-trained warriors. Their weaponry includes clubs, bladed boomerangs, spears made of bone (also used in spearfishing), scimitars and machetes laced with whale teeth on the dull side of the blade. Water Tribe warriors typically wear black and white warpaint on their full face before going into battle. Waterbending warriors of the Northern Tribe are all masters of their element and wear face masks to cover their mouths and hoods.

The Armoury

The more organized Northern Water Tribe makes use of armories located on the warrior training grounds which serve as weapons storage and war planning rooms where orders are distributed. Their waterbenders engender and utilize a countless amount of iceberg spikes scattered across the ocean just outside the city as a first line of defense against Fire Nation ships. The spikes are capable of ripping through solid metal and sinking even the largest ships. The currents in the iceberg fields are known to be extremely dangerous, but are easily traversed by Water Tribe vessels.

The Northern Water Tribe's most common ship is a double-hulled vessel powered by waterbending. Though its small, compact size enables it to be used for a variety of applications, including transporting civilians across the canals within the city, its main purpose is to be used for short, open ocean trips. It is capable of being used to travel over a thousand miles and withstanding the harshest ocean conditions. Warriors use this ship to patrol and protect the waters just outside the Northern Water Tribe.


Marriages are arranged when tribe members turn sixteen, with the bride in particular having no say in the matter. Engaged women wear

Every betrothal necklace is uniquely hand-carved.

"betrothal necklaces:" navy blue chokers bearing blue stone pendants carved by their husband-to-be. Female waterbenders are further marginalized, forbidden by custom from learning Waterbending for fighting purposes. Instead, they are trained as healers, able to use bending to heal wounds. Labor division is dependent on gender: men serve as hunters, fishermen and warriors, and women serve as homemakers.



Southern Water Tribe circa 100 ASC

Originally, the Water Tribe existed as one solely in the North Pole; however, following civil unrest a group of warriors, benders, and healers journeyed to the South Pole to engender a new tribe. Due to the division, the two sects evolved quite differently. Contact between the two tribes was severed and the Southern Tribe eventually split into smaller groups and scattered across the Pole, its natives dwelling within simple sealskin tents and small igloos.

The Southern Water Tribe once had a beautiful city filled with waterbenders, like the Northern Water Tribe, but was destroyed following the attack from the Fire Nation. Waterbenders in particular were captured and killed in the raids. With the end of the war, the Southern Water Tribe can now start to rebuild their nation.


  • Current Ruler: Chief Hakoda
  • System: Patriarchal Monarcy
  • Head of State: Chief
  • Religious Authority: Unknown


The Southern Water Tribe trains all its warriors in virtually the same style as its northern counterpart. The main difference is that female waterbenders are also trained for combat, and allowed to fight alongside the men.

Two years before the Avatar returned, all the men of the Southern Water Tribe were sent to fight in the war, leaving their villages defenseless. They protected the shores of Chameleon Bay, the single inlet leading directly to the outskirts of Ba Sing Se. The warriors had apparently achieved this so far with the use of "tangle mines," buoyant, terrible smelling make-shift mines. The tangle mines are constructed with a bamboo frame and covered with dried animal skin, while the inside is filled with stinkfish and seaweed. These mines float in the water and detonate when a ship hits them. When the mines detonate, they erupt seaweed, which tangles around the propeller of the ship, incapacitating it, and stinkfish, which terrible smell forces people to abandon ship.

The ships of the Southern Tribe seem to be cutter sailing ships, containing wooden hulls and utilizing the wind for propulsion. The boats are shown to be operated by at least two people, one to maintain the main sail and one to control the jib, a smaller sail at the rear. The ships appear to be designed more for use as a transport vessel than combat.


The tribe has a unique rite of passage called "Ice Dodging." This is a coming-of-age rite that serves as a young boy's first step in being realized as a true warrior of his tribe. When a male tribe member turns fourteen, he is taken out on a boat with his father, and challenged to guide it through iceberg-studded waters. If and when the boy succeeds, he receives a mark on his forehead symbolizing his defining trait, and is declared a full member of the tribe. The mark of the wise is awarded for leadership quality and making decisions under pressure. The mark of the brave is given for inspirational displays of courage. Finally, the mark of the trust is bestowed upon outsiders who prove themselves worthy
of the trust of others.

Children of the Tribe play a game called penguin sledding which consists of catching a penguin and riding its back as a makeshift sled.

The Southern Water Tribe has been noted to be less segregated than the north, which has specific societal roles for men and women. Overall, the Southern Water Tribe lives a more simple, open-minded kind of life. Girls and women are allowed to enter waterbending training and are not forced to enter into arranged marriages. Instead, they are free to marry whomever they see fit.


The Foggy Swamp Tribe lives in a mystical swamp in the Earth Kingdom. The swamp itself actually consists, in large part, of a single, massive swamp tree at least several hundred feet tall, whose roots and tree limbs have spread out for miles to form the foundation of the swamp. They speak with a Mississippi River Delta accent, with whom they share much of their stereotypes. Though technologically unsophisticated, they are powerful waterbenders. They can use waterbending to propel their river crafts to very high speeds.

The Foggy Swamp Tribe's ancestry lies in the Southern Water Tribe. Thousands of years ago, a group migrated from the Southern Tribe and found the Swamp. Feeling comfortable because of the large amount of water, they decided to stay. This information, however, has been lost to both tribes' history, resulting in neither of the two knowing the other exists until they are discovered by the gAang.


Though it's unknown whether they share the same political system as their ancestors (or if the even have one), Huu appears to hold some authority over the other members of the tribe.


Their diet consists of small game and giant insects, and they keep alligator-catfish as pets. The Foggy Swamp Tribe is also very in tune to their natural surroundings and have a keen understanding of the workings of the natural world and a belief that all life is connected and is reliant on each other, a philosophy which they teach Aang, who quickly accepts the concept.

Though they wear green as opposed to blue, it could be pointed out that the water in their area is green and they are thus consistent with the other cultures of the Avatar world in using their element as a primary color motif. The tribe members wear a giant leaf hat, loin-cloths, arm bands and wrappings around their shins and fore-arms. The tribe members do not wear shoes or sandals.

Unique Bending StyleEdit

The Foggy Swamp Tribe's waterbenders have a different style of bending from their polar cousins. While the North and South pole Benders flow with the water, Foggy Swamp Tribe seems more rigid and straight. This can especially be seen when they are moving their boats using a much more straight backed style then when Northern benders move their gondolas. Members of the tribe have also discovered how to bend plants, by manipulating the water inside of them.