Smaller in physical stature than the other tribes of The People of Two Seasons , the Leetayo more than make up for any lack of physical prowess with sophisticated cunning and shrewd intellect. With several settlements within the eastern reaches of Sanctuary , they maintain a vibrant culture that spans from the edges of the great central lakes to the eastern shores. The people of this region are well known as innovators and brilliant tacticians, holding a place of high esteem within the confederacy for their skills in these areas.
The tribe is divided into several clans, with each clan having its own name, territory, and spiritual traditions, and in turn each clan is led by an elder, who is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the clan and ensuring that its members are taken care of. The tribe as a whole is led by a council of elders, with each clan represented by their elder. The council of elders is responsible for making decisions that affect the entire tribe, such as settling disputes between clans, making decisions about resource allocation, and determining the tribe's overall spiritual direction, answering only to the chieftain who brings the overall concerns of the entire tribe before the confederation. The Singers of the Last Breath, who are responsible for leading the tribe's spiritual rituals and ceremonies and for passing the spirits of the fallen members of the tribe to their new hosts, play a vital role in not only the rebirthing rites, but the day to day aspects as well, offing guidance to the clans and living alongside them, one Singer for every clan. The Singers are believed to have a special connection to the spirit world and are consulted on matters related to the tribe's spiritual well-being. While the Leetayo tribe prioritize peaceful living and spiritual harmony, there is still be a need for protection from outside threats. Warriors, known as the Fox Guardians, are responsible for defending the tribe in times of conflict, and are highly respected members of the community.
The Leetayo tribe's culture is centered around their deep spiritual connection to the foxes, with each tribe member having a unique bond with a fox. This connection is celebrated through rituals and ceremonies that honor this bond with the tribe's animal companions. They place a strong emphasis on communal living, with resources shared among all members of the community including shared meals, communal work projects, and a general sense of cooperation and mutual support. The Leetayo tribe's culture is also rich in art and music, with traditional forms of expression such as pottery, weaving, and flute playing being highly valued. These art forms are intertwined with the tribe's spiritual beliefs and natural surroundings, leading to their settlements being filled with intricate and beautiful, handcrafted wares being an everyday part of their lives. They also have a strong tradition of storytelling and oral history, with elders passing down knowledge and wisdom through spoken word. Myths and legends are shared as a way of preserving the tribe's cultural heritage and reinforcing its spiritual beliefs, as well as passing on skills and techniques developed over time, creating a rich and diverse, and highly skilled community. A paramount cultural motif within the Leetayo tribe is a deep respect for the natural world and its interconnectedness with all living things. This manifests in a strong conservation ethic, with the tribe taking care to use natural resources in a sustainable way and minimize their impact on the environment.
In many ways, the Leetayo have always been a bit set apart from the rest of the tribes of the Sahahimu due to their smaller size and often, their inability to compete in matters of physical aptitude, but time and time again they have proven their worth in other ways, able to outwit even the most cunning of opponents and use their small size in most cases as an advantage. When the time of war with the Bonedancers was upon them, it was the quick thinking and innovative tactics of the Leetayo that gave a significant upper hand, leading to the their victory against them and earning them a position of honor within the confederation. Though these gentle people prefer a peaceful life, they are dutiful and protective of their lands and people.
The eastern lands of the Island of Sanctuary are a blend of forests, plains, rocky cliff faces and eventually the ocean shores. The Leetayo maximize their use of these lands but remain spread out enough that their individual settlements do not hinder the other clans from being able to grow and prosper, and are always eager to share and trade amongst themselves, usually as an excuse to gather and hold celebratory meals and dances.
The Leetayo belief in the balance of nature is reflected nowhere better than among their highly respected protector, the Fox Guardians. Within their ranks are the most highly trained warriors but also the most well trained herbalists and healers as well, able to function as caretakers just as efficiently as defenders at a moments notice. They act as mediators first, always seeking a means to understand a threat before moving headlong to oppose it, and their highly skilled abilities to track and hunt, allow them to observe at a distance safely and unseen in order to do this. The Fox Guardians are highly respected and honored members of the Leetayo community, with their expertise and spiritual connection to the natural world being valued and celebrated. They also play a central role in the tribe's rituals and ceremonies, helping to facilitate the connection between the tribe members and their animal companions, assuring that the fox companions of their tribe are healthy and well cared for.
The Leetayo have developed sophisticated irrigation systems that manage their water resources and maximize agricultural productivity in their environment. They have designed a complex systems of canals, dams, and reservoirs that allow them to efficiently capture and distribute water for farming and drinking. They have also developed highly skilled techniques for crafting ceramics and pottery, using local materials such as clay and sand to create intricately designed pieces that serve both practical and decorative purposes. To add to this, the Leetayo have developed advanced weaving techniques to create textiles for clothing, blankets, and other items. To this end they use techniques such as finger weaving and backstrap weaving to create complex patterns and designs. A testament to their innovative nature, most of their settlements use variations of wind and solar technology in aspects of everyday life, from heating and cooling their homes, to using wind as a means of grinding meal and and water as well. They are masterful glassblowers, and have honed this craft into far more than just simple or decorative se, branching into curved lenses utilized in the production of heat and focusing the suns rays for utilitarian use, such as fire starting, magnification, and indoor solar heating.
The Leetayo believe in the importance of honoring and seeking guidance from their ancestors, who they see as still present in the world as a form of spiritual memory that passes down from one incarnation to the next. They hold ceremonies and rituals to honor their incarnations and seek their guidance and protection in this sense through a rite of communing with their fox companion and, working in tandem, attempting to find the knowledge and wisdom of their previous lives.
The Leetayo earth lodges are constructed from natural materials, such as adobe or mud bricks, wooden beams, and thatched roofs made of local grasses. The lodges are circular or oval in shape, with a diameter of around five to ten meters. The interior of the earth lodge is divided into different sections, with a central hearth used for cooking and heating, and raised platforms around the perimeter of the lodge used for sleeping and storage with a central opening in the roof for ventilation and light. To help heat the lodges during the cooler months, the Leetayo use curved, handmade lenses made from blown glass. These lenses are mounted on a wooden frame and positioned outside the lodge, facing the sun. The curved lenses focus the sun's rays onto a central point on the exterior of the adobe or mud brick, creating a concentrated source of heat that is used to warm the lodge. The interior of the lodge is generally decorated with intricate designs and motifs that reflect the Leetayo's spiritual beliefs and cultural traditions. These designs are painted on the walls or carved into the wooden beams and platforms, and depict animals, geometric patterns, and symbols with spiritual significance. These designs are intended to be highly functional, with features such as storage spaces built into the raised platforms, and areas designated for specific activities such as cooking and sleeping. The lodges are adapted to the Leetayo's way of life and the challenges of their environment, with a focus on practicality and efficiency.
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