Overview: Spirits in Flesh
The Nunnehi are the faerie spirits of the Native Americans. Not only are they the embodiments of the myths, legends, dreams, and possibilities of the native tribes of North America, they also spring from the vision quests and spirit workings integral to those cultures. The word Nunnehi means "people who live anywhere," and they inhabit remote wilderness areas as well as living on the fringes of human society, often combining nomadic and settled cultures. Their townships and enclaves serve as bases for groups of wandering hunters and warriors, who act as guardians against the encroachment of outsiders, including European changelings. Like the mortals whose dreams they personify, the Nunnehi share a reverence for and understanding of the natural world of rocks, plants, and animals. In some ways they serve as a spirit link between nature and their chosen tribes.
Long before the coming of the Kithain, the Nunnehi Nations lived in harmony with the Native American tribes. Though somewhat varied due to differences in concepts and beliefs, many Nunnehi had traits in common. Many were invisible or could become so; some could change size from a few inches tall to gigantic. Almost all were believed to grant favors or bestow curses. Closely tied to both the natural world and the world of the spirits, some served as go-betweens for communications with higher beings or the spirits of the dead. Tribes left gifts to placate their spirit brethren, asked them for guidance, and feared their retribution should anyone insult or anger them. In return, the Nunnehi Nations watched over their "flesh brothers," lending their assistance when needed and teaching tribal dreamers healing and growing magics.
Nunnehi are very different from their European cousins. They do not gather Glamour, but "harvest Medicine." They evince different types than the European faeries as well, having no boggans, sluagh, sidhe, or redcaps. Instead, they are water babies or invisible people depending on which region and tribe they descend from. They refer to these types as Families rather than kith. Nor do Nunnehi refer to themselves as the Kithain. They are the Nunnehi Nations. Indeed, they hardly seem to grasp the concept of being singular, instead referring to a single Nunnehi as "one" to show that the Nunnehi in question is "one of the principal people (of the Nunnehi Nations)." In this, they are much like their flesh brothers, who see themselves as part of and in relationship to the tribe before being individuals. Sadly, they also resemble the tribes in their dislocation from many of their former territories and in their declining numbers.
Those who were left behind when the doorways closed to Arcadia and the Higher Hunting Grounds (the Nunnehi Dreaming) became changelings. The European faeries underwent a changing ritual that shielded them from Banality; the native faeries found highly spiritual people who agreed to act as hosts for the Nunnehi's spirits. The first Nunnehi-human hybrids shared the bodies, with the Nunnehi spirit remaining quiescent within until the host either fathered or became the mother of a child. The Nunnehi spirit then entered the child before birth, fusing its faerie spirit to the child's flesh. Those who had hosted Nunnehi spirits within themselves often became counselors, medicine men and wise women in their tribes due to the insights granted them by their faerie brethren. Nunnehi have most often chosen to re-manifest within the descendants of those they originally inhabited, though any member of the Nunnehi's chosen tribe might be so honored. This has proven to be both a blessing and a curse, keeping the Nunnehi strong and allied with their tribes, while creating grave problems for those whose tribes have become extinct.
Relation to the Dreaming
The major difference between Nunnehi and other changelings lies in their relationship to the Dreaming. Unlike other changelings, who are merely exiled from Arcadia and who can still occasionally touch the Dreaming, Nunnehi have lost their connection to their homeland (called the Higher Hunting Grounds) in the Dreaming. There is speculation that this may stem from the actual destruction of the Higher Hunting Grounds due to the loss of so many native tribes and the erosion of their beliefs. To compensate, Nunnehi have gained the ability to draw Glamour (which they call Medicine) directly from the natural world, and are also able to enter the spirit world under certain conditions.
The Nunnehi still mourn their loss of the Dreaming and commemorate it through their love for and skill in song, dance, story and artistic endeavors. Ironically, most Nunnehi tend to be extremely creative in at least one of these areas, thus making them sources of Glamour for other changelings.
The story of the Nunnehi is one of coping with a series of invasions. In each region, certain areas were set aside as homelands or territories for the Nunnehi. These were usually thought to be places of power and great natural beauty such as waterfalls, strange rock formations, stands of woods, particular coves along the shoreline, caves, great trees, or islands found in mid-river or emerging from a dismal swamp. In some cases, this brought them into competition with Garou, who claimed caerns in many of the same regions. For the most part, though, the two groups cooperated rather than competing, and the Croatan, Uktena and Wendigo found natural allies among the Nunnehi. To this day, it is far more likely to find the Native American Garou and the Nunnehi allied than at odds with one another. This is not true with regard to those Garou who are called "the latecomers" — the Fianna, Get of Fenris, Silver Fangs, and others.
The First Wave
More intrusive and more dangerous to the native faeries were those of their own kind. Many Nunnehi were originally friendly to those who fled to North America to escape Banality. Those noble sidhe and their households often came as supplicants searching for new lands to shelter them. The Nunnehi frequently welcomed their foreign cousins and taught them how to live in the new environment. Treaties were signed and friendship gifts exchanged.
Soon, however, greater numbers came across the sea, and these settled wherever they pleased with little regard for the native faeries' feelings. Like their human counterparts who would later arrive in the New World, the European faeries arrogantly assumed that their culture and ways were superior and more civilized. Without understanding that the traditions and customs of the Nunnehi were at least as old, if not older, than their own, the immigrants dismissed the rich culture and society of the "backward savages." Some even took Nunnehi as captives and thralls to "teach" them European values and how to be "civilized." Relations between the Kithain and the Nunnehi Nations deteriorated wherever the newcomers took no thought for the feelings and rights of the native faeries. The Nunnehi fought back against the usurpers who took their lands, banding together into war parties to attack European freeholds and travelers. Though most of the older settlements where the Kithain were friendly to the Nunnehi were safe from such attack, some hotheads among the Nations made war upon any non-natives.
The European Settlement
With the coming ofhuman European settlers, many of the commoners also arrived. These too encroached upon the Nunnehi just as the humans did. Though the alien faeries appreciated the beauty of their new surroundings, they could not glean Glamour from it as could the Nunnehi. Unwittingly, the settlers felled stands of ancient trees and plowed over fields where Nunnehi had once danced and harvested Medicine. Warfare also took its toll among the Nunnehi. Tribe fought tribe as they were pushed into one another's territories and forced into competition for resources. Many natives supported European powers rather than the American settlers in the War for Independence, hoping that the powers would give back their lands in return for their help. When the war was lost, these were stripped of their remaining territories, and many were forced into slavery or sent far away. The Nunnehi fought alongside their flesh brothers and shared their fate.
Over time, the Europeans uprooted the native tribes, either decimating them with diseases they had no protection against or displacing them from their hunting grounds and homelands. Many Nunnehi who had formerly been peaceful responded with anger and enmity, waging war against the European changelings and their human kin. Others withdrew deeper into the forests, or disappeared from the knowledge of their foreign cousins. Some accompanied their displaced flesh brothers to exile in their new homes. Those whose people were displaced and who either would not or could not follow their human kin have either died out or withdrawn so deeply into the spirit world that they are no longer seen on Earth. A very few of these remain in hidden enclaves, but they are ancient now and malevolent toward all. These have wholly given themselves over to their Winter natures and wait only for their eventual deaths. It is unknown whether these Nunnehi's spirits can inhabit the bodies of other tribal people, or if their passing will mark the end of their immortal faerie souls. These are the most dangerous Nunnehi — especially to non-natives — because they have nothing more to lose.
While less deliberately malevolent, other Nunnehi continue to attack and fight the usurpers. It isn't hard to understand their resentment and hatred for the aliens who took their land, ripped away their Glamour, decimated their tribal brethren and almost destroyed them. Their once-free glens, which served them as dancing circles, tribal meeting places and encampments, have been made over into freeholds by the Europeans. Many Nunnehi were nomadic, moving according to the seasons or availability of game. The concept of a fixed place, of remaining in one abode, is foreign to them still. Much less do they understand reservations or why their people are confined to such poor areas with so little to sustain them.
For the last hundred years, the Nunnehi have been in decline as their tribes lost most ot their population, shunned their old beliefs and turned away from their ancient traditions. Only in the last few decades has there been a resurgence of Native American pride and a renewal of interest in the old ways. With it has come the rebirth of Nunnehi who were thought to have been lost forever as their stories faded from memory and the birth of new Nunnehi from the visions, dreams and beliefs of modern tribal people. From this renaissance of belief has arisen new hope that the Nunnehi are no longer a dead and dying people, but one that has endured their long Winter and now is emerging again into Spring.
The Return of the Sidhe
Into the volatile mix precipitated by Kithain dominance and Nunnehi desperation has now been thrown the return of the noble sidhe. Their coming and reclamation of lands they considered to be their fiefs not only sparked the Accordance War, but acted as a call to arms for Nunnehi as well. Some Nunnehi were again displaced by this influx of non-natives, who once again assumed their own superiority. Many of these fought alongside the commoners, believing that once they triumphed, the common Kithain must recognize their rights. Others merely stood aside, feeling that it was none of their concern if commoner slew noble, so long as all involved were not Nunnehi. A third group allied with the nobles, remembering a time when some nobles had sworn treaties and bonds of friendship with them. These fared best, and some Nunnehi Nations today enjoy treaties and guarantees of their rights sworn to by noble friends who have claimed fiefdoms partly won through Nunnehi support.
Naturally, nothing is without price. The conflicting loyalties engendered by the Accordance Wars have caused old enmities among various tribes ofNunnehi to erupt. Most tribes refuse to engage in warfare against their own kind, but those whose tribes were enemies or competitors again spoil for battle to prove themselves better. The new emphasis on pride among Native Americans has had a heady effect upon the Nations. Where they all might once have been content to ally in the face of certain eventual destruction, the renewal of native culture has made them proud and unwilling to forgive old wrongs. Nunnehi from competing tribes might forswear fighting among themselves long enough to battle non-natives, but they seldom choose to ally for longer periods or even go their separate, peaceful ways. If no fight ensues between the momentary allies, they back away from confrontation, with each expecting treachery from the other until miles are put between them. Thus, even as the Nunnehi again become strong, they weaken themselves from within by intertribal bickering.
All Nunnehi belong to a tribe. Differences in Nunnehi can be attributed to the variant dreams and expectations among the Native American tribes. For this reason, it is difficult for Nunnehi to be born into non-natives or those who are not members of their tribe. Doing so almost guarantees that they will not remember who and what they are until they become elders and reach the perspective and wisdom that age brings.
For the most part, many tribes from the same region have similar backgrounds, such as the buffalo hunters of the Great Plains. To that extent, Nunnehi may be associated with particular areas, being identified, for example, as Southwestern or Northeastern. Within those regions, however, the individual tribes shape the form, dress, practices and customs that the Nunnehi Nations follow. Nunnehi are never born into tribes who once were or are still considered rivals or enemies to their own.
Regardless of their geographic placement, each still-flourishing or revitalized culture has a special relationship with its Nunnehi. While modern tribal members may not believe that Nunnehi move among them, many do believe in nature spirits to whom they appeal for help and strength. Many also believe that certain children are born who evince talents or spiritual affinities that mark them as "special." Nunnehi often serve as tribal storytellers, lorekeepers, artists, crafters and dancers. Some become advisors or even chiefs.
It is not possible to examine each tribe in detail, but this general overview can be used as a springboard for further investigation into the Native American tribes from whom the Nunnehi take their shapes. Virtually all the native cultures depicted here are confined to reservations today. In most cases, the Nunnehi are a blend of ancient practices and modern sensibilities. Because they often depend upon both their ties to the natural and spirit worlds and on old traditions for their existence, however, Nunnehi tend to be more anachronistic than other changelings, clinging to old ways rather than embracing modern tools and ways of life. Therefore, the descriptions given below of the clothing, customs, skills and practices of the various tribes is still fairly accurate when applied to the practices of modern Nunnehi.
Trappers, hunters and fishers, the natives of the Northeastern woodlands found that they had many things in common. Alliances and confederations were commonplace, with the Iroquois and Abnaki Confederations pointing the way. Those Nunnehi who were associated with these tribes also considered (and still consider) themselves to be allies of their respective Nunnehi Nations, and may sometimes lend aid to the flesh brothers of allied tribes. Anyone who makes an enemy of one of the allied Nunnehi makes an enemy of all their allies as well. Interestingly, those from the Iroquois Confederation and those of the Abnaki were traditional enemies.
The Confederacy of the Iroquois
Before the coming of the Europeans, a holy man's vision led to the creation of the Confederacy of the Iroquois, five Nations bound together by shared language, custom and law. The Iroquois, who lived in what became New York state, divided their land into five strips, democratic republics governed by an elected council. Chiefs were elected from candidates proposed by the matrons of the tribes, and had to act only with the consent of all the women of childbearing age. The Iroquois Nations were controlled by the women, both because they reckoned kin relations through the matrilineal line, and because women were responsible for most of the work done in the community, from childrearing to planting and harvesting. The men were often away hunting for long periods of time.
Made up of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca, the League of Five Nations became Six Nations when they allied with the Tuscarora. All speeches and diplomatic dealings were accompanied by a gift of wampum, beads made from whelk shells. This was done to show that what was said was both important and true. The Iroquois became the most powerful native tribes in the Northeast, allying with the European invaders and thus saving their lands and culture until after the Revolutionary War when most of them sided with the British. They warred chiefly with their rivals in the fur trade, the Hurons, Eries and Illinois and the Algonquin speakers of the Abnaki Confederation.
One of the most breathtaking sites in Iroquois land is Taughannock Falls, which plummets over 215 feet into Cayuga Lake and serves as a place of power for those few Cayugan Nunnehi who are left. They wait in vain for the return of their people, who now live on a reservation in northeastern Oklahoma. Of the six tribes, only the Seneca and Mohawk still maintain any large presence in the area, with the Mohawk taking on the modern role of steelworkers high atop the skyscrapers of Manhattan.
The Abnaki Confederation
Covering areas from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Maine, the Abnaki Confederacy encompassed the Abnaki, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes. All were Algonquin speakers and held alliances with the French. Expert at canoeing, fishing and trapping, the Abnaki allies lived in conical wigwams covered with birch bark. Unlike their Iroquois rivals, they reckoned kinship from the patrilinear line. The Abnaki allies popularized the idea of using the Calumet Ceremony (or peace pipe) as a ceremonial means to stopping wars, mediating disagreements and establishing peace. Many among these tribes wore beaver skins, softening and curing the hides for later trade with the French. The Maliseet were noted for their singing, dancing and elaborate feasts, while the Penobscot found fame with their intricate bead- and quillwork, and had a reputation for peacefulness and hospitality. Most now live on reservations in Maine.
Other tribes of the area included the Micmac, Pequod, Susquehanna, Powhatan, and Delaware.
The earliest tribes to inhabit the Southeastern woodlands were mound-builders; hunter-gatherers who eventually turned to agriculture and built a rich and intricate civilization. The migration of Mississippian tribes into the region resulted in their disappearance or assimilation by the newcomers, who would become known as the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Creek. The Seminoles, an offshoot of the Creek, eventually traveled to the Florida peninsula.
The tribes that settled in the forests and valleys of the Southeast were farmers and hunters, living in summer and winter towns and enjoying a complex form of government revolving around a chief and a town council. Decisions were made by consensus, and both warriors and elders (known as beloved men and women) had a voice in the council. Summer houses tended to be rectangular and large, while winter houses were round and heavily insulated, with only a single small entrance to conserve heat.
Societal structure was both matrilineal and matrilocal, and women played an important role in the life of the tribe. They owned property, oversaw the raising of children, and occasionally accompanied their warriors into battle as chroniclers, often singing songs to inspire bravery in combat. Intertribal warfare was common among these tribes, usually for the purpose of taking slaves or war captives to assert their status. In times of peace, warriors spent much of their time preparing for and participating in ball games, which assumed ritual significance for the tribes.
The Cherokee inhabited parts of the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia. The Choctaw resided in southern Mississippi and parts of Alabama and Louisiana, while the Chickasaw claimed northern Mississippi as their home. The Creeks made their home in southern Georgia and Alabama.
The Seminole adapted themselves to their semi-tropical environment, building stilt-houses, called chickees, with palmetto leaf roofs and sides that were open to the air except at night, when canopies were lowered to keep out the insects.
The Five Civilized Tribes
The Europeans who settled the Southeastern woodlands after the 17th century referred to the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole as the "five civilized tribes," so called because of their original friendliness to the white invaders and their willingness to adopt the customs of the new arrivals. The Southeastern tribes learned the European method of agriculture, adapted their clothing and hairstyles to reflect the dress of the white settlers, and in many cases, even converted to the religion of the Europeans. Determined to prove that they could coexist with the newcomers in harmony, they entered into treaties and alliances which they thought would guarantee the sanctity of their homelands.
The Europeans, however, coveted the fertile lands of the Southeastern tribes, and sought every opportunity to acquire the natives' territories for themselves. Many of the Southeastern peoples sided with the British during the Revolutionary War and lost their lands when the British were defeated. Some tribes were pressured into abandoning their lands, traveling west across the Mississippi. Others attempted to remain, hoping for recognition by the Great Father in Washington (whoever he happened to be) as citizens. In 1827, using the alphabet invented by Sequoyah, the Cherokee adopted a constitution and declared themselves a nation, hoping thereby to establish relations with the government of the former American colonies. Their hopes came to nothing when, in 1838, by presidential fiat, Andrew Jackson enforced the Indian Removal Act, rounding up and relocating the Cherokee and the remaining Southeastern tribes to a reservation in Oklahoma, where they now reside. This forced march, known as the Trail of Tears, resulted in the deaths of nearly a quarter of the exiles.
Some members of the Southeastern tribes managed to escape forced removal. A small portion of the Cherokee hid in the mountains of North Carolina, eventually winning the right to remain in that area. These form the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and live on the Qualla Boundary Reservation near the North Carolina/Tennessee border. Many Seminoles retreated into the Everglades and waged guerrilla warfare on the U.S. troops determined to evict them from their land. Even when the Seminole surrendered, a few diehards were permitted to remain on a reservation in Florida. The rest followed their Southeastern cousins to Oklahoma.
Other southeastern tribes include the Natchez, Catawba, Yuchi, Clusa, Caddo, and the Tunica-Biloxi.
The tribes of the Midwest comprise those from the western Great Lakes regions stretching northward into Canada and those who formed the greater part of Plains Indian culture. The Plains tribes are the nomadic native people who lived in tipis, hunted the buffalo, adapted their culture when they acquired the horse and fought fiercely for their land against the Western settlers and the Army. These natives are what most people envision when they think of "Indians."
The Northern Tribes
These tribes were forest people like their neighbors to the east. They were the Cree, Ojibwa, Winnebago and Blackfoot. The Cree lived mostly in Canada, but migrations in the 17th century scattered them from Quebec to the Rockies. They also came into conflict with their Sioux and Blackfeet neighbors as their territories shifted. Hunting, fishing and trapping comprised most of their work. They now live in North Dakota. The Ojibwa are more usually known as the Chippewa (a misnomer). Their meetings with the French changed them from the tiny, self-governing villages to tribal organization that included the Grand Medicine society. Living mainly in Minnesota, they were allied with the French, and traded beaver and pelts for firearms, which they used to drive their enemies, the Sioux, to the west. They were able to maintain many of their cultural traits, such as woodcraft and birch bark canoes, because of their isolation from English and American settlements.
The Winnebago were a woodlands tribe of Sioux lineage. They are divided into two Phratries — the upper (air) people and lower (earth) people. They lived in permanent villages and grew maize, squash, beans and tobacco. Removed to Minnesota, they were driven out by white settlers, and today live in Nebraska.
The Blackfoot are actually three closely allied tribes, the Siksikas, Bloods, and Piegans. Much feared by early white trappers and fur traders, the Blackfoot killed any white man who encroached upon their hunting grounds in search of beaver. They lived in tipis and hunted buffalo like other Plains Indians. One of the Piegan's main ceremonials was the sun dance. They now live in Montana and Alberta, Canada.
The Plains Tribes
The Sioux Nation is comprised of three divisions: Lakota, Dakota and Nakota. The Lakota (or Tetons) are the seven westernmost tribes, and refer to themselves as Ikche-wichasha ("the real natural human beings"). They have been called "the red knights of the prairie," and claim as their heroes Red Cloud, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. These nomads carry their goods on horse travois, go on vision quests which include four-day fasts as part of the ritual, and practice the sun dance. Originally friendly to Europeans, they were among the greatest warriors against forced removal, annihilating Custer at the Little Bighorn. Their last battle was fought against overwhelming odds at Wounded Knee in 1890.
The Cheyenne practiced ritual dog-eating. Their name for themselves is Tis-Tsis-Tas ("the people"). Originally from the Great Lakes Region, they too epitomized the great horsemen and brave warriors of the plains. Allied with the Sioux, they fought with them at Little Bighorn against Custer and were honored by the Sioux as great warriors. Forced into Oklahoma, one group heroically returned to their old hunting grounds, settling in Montana. The Southern Cheyenne remained on their reservation in Oklahoma.
The Crow were a typical Plains tribe who adopted the nomadic lifestyle when they acquired horses and guns. They were known as fierce fighters and skilled horse thieves. The Crow furnished scouts for the Army, and thus became the enemies of many others of the Plains tribes. They reside in Montana.
Other Midwestern tribes include the Kiowa, Comanche, Osage, Oto, Pawnee, Sauk, Fox, and Illinois.
Most of the tribes in this region are settled farmers. Many are pueblo-dwellers, who have adapted to the harsh desert environment. The sun was a potent force to these tribes and rain a much-needed blessing. They are the originators of the rain dance and the kivas, which were initially pit houses dug into the earth for shelter and as storage places. Some kivas are sacred, and the elders retreat into them to pray during important ceremonies. The ladder that reached from inside to the roof of the kiva symbolized life emerging from the Earth Mother. Among these tribes are the Apache, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni.
The Apache were nomadic, living in wickiups (conical brush shelters). They hunted, gathered wild plants, and planted corn and squash. The Apache dressed in deer skin and wore their long hair loose and held by head bands. The men wore long breech cloths and soft thigh-high moccasins. Initially known more for their skill as runners, they became superb horsemen. Among their heroes were Cochise and Goyathlay (better known as Geronimo).
The Hopi are peaceful pueblo-dwellers. They are noted for their ability to coax corn and other crops to thrive in desert sands. Hopi women make pottery and baskets, while the men do the weaving and hunting. Women of marriageable age wear their hair in elaborate knots on either side of their heads called a squash-blossom style.
The Navaho, who call themselves the Dineh ("the people"), came from northwestern Canada. They were fierce raiders who terrorized the peaceful crop-growers of the Southwest. Over time, they adopted many of their pueblo neighbors' practices such as basketweaving and pottery making. They learned silversmithing from the Spaniards and weaving from the pueblos. Their religious practice, known as the Beauty Way, involves exuberance and joy in the richness and beauty of living. They are the largest tribe in the United States. Their reservation, which touches upon the Grand Canyon, contains Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly. Dineh women still wear their traditional colorful costumes set off by silver and turquoise necklaces. They live in hogans: domes of logs covered with mud with a smoke hole at the top.
The Papago and the Pima are closely related. Thought to be the descendants of the Hohokan, a prehistoric people who constructed an elaborate system of irrigation canals, both tribes excel in farming. The women of both tribes weave exceptionally beautiful baskets. Both tribes lived in dome-shaped houses and now reside in Arizona.
The Zuni were some of the first pueblo-dwellers to suffer from Spanish greed. The walls of their adobe houses looked like gold to Spanish explorers, prompting a report to the Spanish viceroy that the "fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, whose streets were paved with gold," had been found. As a result, Coronado and his armed adventurers plundered the pueblo. The Zuni fled to the top of an inaccessible mesa where they built a single, defensible village. They live there still.
Other Southwestern tribes include the Mojave, Tewa, Tiwa, and Yuma.
The Far West tribes are those of Montana, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, California, and Utah. They have varied cultures, but are not usually numbered among either the Plains tribes or those who lived along the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Among them are the Flatheads, Miwok, Modoc, Utes, and Nez Perces.
The Flatheads were a Salishan tribe in Montana who adopted Plains Indian culture with the arrival of the horse, and traded beaver and bison skins. Plains tribes gave them their unusual name to distinguish them from other Salishan tribes who did practice ritual forehead flattening.
The Miwok were a central Californian tribe who ate nuts, fished, and hunted deer and rabbits. They lived in conical houses made of poles. Women worked together with communal grinding stones. Before the Gold Rush, the Miwok were a prosperous tribe with a rich culture. Today they are practically extinct.
The Modoc lived in southwestern Oregon. They are most remembered for their fierce resistance to being forced onto reservations. The Modoc took shelter in the Lava Beds, where they defended themselves against thousands of soldiers who bombarded them with cannon-fire. Eventually, part o fthe tribe was removed to Oklahoma with the rest left in Oregon.
The Nez Perces, which means "pierced noses," customarily wore a piece of dentalium shell through their septums. They were semi-nomadic and best known for their trading skills, bravery and generosity. The fine basketweaving of their women and their breeding of Appaloosa horses brought them fame as well. Consistently friendly to Europeans, they lived in communal houses containing several families. Unjustly driven from their lands, they fought fiercely under their great leader, Chief Joseph. They now live in Idaho.
The Utes were from Colorado and eastern Utah, and shared many cultural traits with the more northern Plains tribes. Mormon settlers and mining interests forced them off much of their ancestral lands. Generally friendly to Europeans, they now raise cattle and live on reservations in Colorado and Utah.
Far North & Pacific Northwest
The people of this region are either coastal dwellers or natives of the frozen north. Those who reside along the Pacific Coast are usually referred to as the tribes of the Pacific Northwest, while the Aleuts and Inuits are usually called Eskimos. All these tribes derive much of their livelihood from fishing and hunting, and must cope with the long, cold winters of the north.
The Far Northern Tribes
The Aleuts are a branch of the Inuit who live mostly on the Aleutian Islands. The name came from Russian traders; their own name for themselves is unangan ("the people"). They were adept at hunting and harvesting sea resources from their skin-covered kayaks. They suffered greatly from exploitation at the hands of Russian traders who came to the islands in the mid-18th century.
The Inuit are more familiarly called Eskimo ("those who eat their food raw") They are big game hunters, preying mostly on seal, walrus, caribou and polar bear. On land they use dog sleds, while on water they use kayaks and umiaks. Whenever they must, they still build igloos. The Inuit are found throughout the Arctic, Alaska and Northern Canada. Plans are underway to make a great portion of Northeastern Canada (including Hudson Bay) a homeland for the Inuit.
The Pacific Coastal Tribes
The Chinook live in Washington state. Their trade jargon became the common language used throughout the Northwest, and many interior tribes came to trade furs, mountain-sheep horn and war captives for salmon, shells and other goods. The words potlatch and hootch are derived from their language. Incursions by the European trade companies broke their trade monopoly by introducing diseases that decimated the tribe.
The Haida live on Queen Charlotte Island off the coast of British Columbia. Once hunters of whales and sea otters, they traveled in huge canoes hollowed out ofsingle enormous cedar trees. Known for their totem poles, masks and decorations on their wooden houses, contact with Europeans was devastating to the Haida as they fell victim to smallpox and venereal disease.
The Kwakiutl lived on Vancouver Island in large painted houses decorated with carvings. Their elaborate totem poles and masks are famous. The Kwakiutl fished and warred from huge canoes that featured carved prow figures. They engaged in potlatch feasts and waged war for both prestige and slaves. They had many secret societies, such as the cannibal society.
The Lumni are a Salishan tribe of northwestern Washington. Salmon is their main food, and their ceremonies revolve around salmon and fishing. Lumni women make fine baskets and are renowned for their dog-hair blankets. The Lumni once fought annual ceremonial battles with the Haida for the purpose of capturing slaves. These encounters are still remembered in a yearly warrior ceremony which includes canoe racing and dancing. Their reservation is in Washington.
The Tlingit are the northernmost of the great coastal tribes. They lived in large rectangular houses that were decorated and painted. Like other coastal tribes, the Tlingit fished in big dugout canoes, held potlatches, and made war to capture slaves and booty. Known as great carvers, they produce totem poles, masks, and ceremonial rattles. Tlingit women weave the famous Chilkat blankets and fine multicolored baskets. Their dress is highly decorative, and is often covered with images of eagles and other animals. They live in Alaska.
The Tsimshian are culturally related to the Haida and Kwakiutl. Artistic carvers and weavers of Chilkat blankets, they also fish for salmon, halibut, cod, and shellfish, and once hunted whales. Their original home was in British Columbia. In 1884, a Church of England clergyman persuaded them to move to Alaska, where they are active in both the political and economic life of the state.
Camps replace the designation of Court for Nunnehi changelings. Because they are not a part of the Celtic-influenced lifestyle of either the noble or commoner changelings, Nunnehi fall outside the Seelie/Unseelie framework of mainstream changeling society. The terms Seelie and Unseelie are simply not relevant for Native-American changelings. Instead, Nunnehi belong to either the Winter (or Rock), Summer (or Dogwood) or Midseason (or Laurel) Camps.
Knowing the customs and practices of a Nunnehi's tribe can be very important in determining which Camp they are currently espousing. Unlike other changelings, it is possible to determine whether a Nunnehi is a Winter person, Summer person or Midseason person by examining her clothing, accessories and expression. Nunnehi are not given to hiding what they feel. Indeed, it is even possible to guess at a Nunnehi's Camp if her membership in a secret society is known. When they shift camps, they become less active in their respective groups.
It is possible for Nunnehi to switch from one Camp to another, just as changelings can change Courts from Seelie to Unseelie and vice versa. Association with the Midseason, or Laurel, Camp is usually transitory. A Winter Nunnehi's anger will usually devolve into harmless pranks before dissipating as the Summer nature assumes prominence. In a similar fashion, a Summer Nunnehi will begin indulging in minor pranks as her compassionate tendencies decrease and her Winter nature rises to control her personality.
Nunnehi have the same three age-related seemings as other changelings, but they refer to childlings as "younglings," wilders as "braves" and grumps as "elders." Their perspective on aging is not remotely the same as most changelings. For each change, Nunnehi are given special tribal names by which they are called. As each new name is taken, the other is symbolically cast away from its former owner so that any curses or had luck associated with it will not follow the Nunnehi into the next phase of their life.
The Nunnehi Families
The Nunnehi Families are arranged according to geographic location as they have been shaped by the dreams and stories shared by many tribes in a specific area. The Nunnehi are often regarded as a mixed blessing by their tribes, because they may use their powers to harm as easily as to help. Whether harmful or helpful, many Nunnehi have frightening aspects to their characters as a means of engendering respect. While the natives might prefer those Nunnehi who are usually helpful, they show both caution and respect to all of them.
All Nunnehi must choose both a Summer and a Winter Legacy. An individual who belongs to the Summer Camp follows their Summer Legacy, while a member of the Winter Camp allows their Winter Legacy to dominate their personality. If a Nunnehi character changes from a Summer person to a Winter person or vice versa during the course of a story, the Storyteller needs to be made aware of the transformation, and the player must be sure that the character's actions fit their new Camp. Occasionally, changes from one Camp to another may occur instantaneously in response to overwhelming circumstances, but most often the change will be gradual, and the character will go through a period of transition in which they become a Midseason person.
Each Legacy has a Vision and Taboo. The Vision details the way for that Legacy to regain lost Willpower points, similar to a Quest among the Kithain. The Taboo is intended as a guide to roleplaying and is nor a hard and fast rule. It is similar to a Ban among the Kithain.
The Nunnehi kith-equivalents are known as Families, with whole Families being called Nations, resulting in the collective term "Nunnehi Nations". They include:
- Rock giants
- Water babies
- Yunwi Amai'yine'hi
- Yunwi Tsundsi
Glamour & Banality
Because they are able to tap the natural world for Glamour (Medicine), Nunnehi tend to have slightly higher levels of beginning Glamour (Medicine) than other changelings; one additional dot of Glamour (Medicine) is therefore awarded to beginning Nunnehi characters. Conversely, they are more susceptible to Banality. When away from natural settings, difficulty factors for enchanting others are increased by one.
Nunnehi call Glamour "Medicine," a word which means power and was adopted by almost all the native tribes. Since they are severed from their part of the Dreaming (known as the Higher Hunting Grounds), Nunnehi cannot easily gather Medicine from human creativity (difficulties are raised by two, unless the activity is from an indigenous culture, such as a Cherokee corn dance or a Navajo sand painting). Instead, they mainly draw Medicine from Gaia (Earth Mother) herself. A Nunnehi's current Legacy determines the way in which they replenishes their supply of Medicine. Dogwood People gather Medicine from trees, Rock People from rocks or earth, and Laurel People from flowering plants and shrubs. All Nunnehi may gather Medicine from pure water. As with other changelings, Medicine may be obtained by Nunnehi in one of three ways.
- Raiding: Ripping Medicine from the natural world.
To the Nunnehi, the spiritual and the ordinary are one and the same. Each day is a miniature cycle in which they interact with the commonplace and the supernatural, embodied in the same beings. To them, a tree is not just a tall plant that has several practical uses, but a living spirit placed here to live in harmony with all the other spirits of the Earth: rocks, plants, animals, wind, rain, sun, and water. Mankind and Nunnehi are also spirits who must find their place among the rest, maintaining a proper balance between the physical and the spiritual and all their spirit brethren so that all life moves in harmony.
Although Nunnehi are gifted with the Medicine to speak to many of those spirits and thus learn how best to honor or placate them, it is not always possible for the individual to see the long-term consequences of actions, master certain skills or grasp difficult concepts without a wise and patient teacher. Totems fulfill that role. Furthermore, many such spirits are believed to be capable of curing illness, making people and crops fertile, summoning rain and teaching their chosen students songs of power. Gaining such a powerful being as an ally is an important part of a Nunnehi's life.
All spirits prefer to be treated respectfully, and totem spirits insist upon it. From the totem's point of view, the Nunnehi has petitioned the totem to take the changeling under its wing and teach them proper ways. Therefore, the Nunnehi should treat their totem with the deference and respect given to elders and teachers. Totem spirits are powerful entities, not minor spirits, and their goodwill can mean the difference between success and failure. The totem spirit usually requires that its adopted child either perform certain duties or refrain from certain behaviors in order to please it. Many totems also expect periodic gifts that will be pleasing to it, such as tobacco burned in its honor or a small willow wreath floated on its waters. So long as the Nunnehi adheres to the expected path required by the totem spirit, they will receive the special gifts bestowed upon them by their association with the totem and the spirit's guidance and favor.
Should the Nunnehi fail to conform to the totem spirit's wishes, however, they offend their mentor and falls out of favor with their totem spirit. When this happens, they are given one warning — usually symbolically — that their behavior is offensive. If they persist in acting in the manner that annoys their totem, all benefits of having a totem spirit disappear. This does not mean that the Nunnehi should be punished every time they perform some minor action that the totem doesn't personally approve. It does mean that major infractions or truly obnoxious behavior that goes against everything the totem usually stands for call for action on the totem's part.
If the Nunnehi wants to repair the damage to the relationship, they must cease forever the behavior that prompted the estrangement, and approach their totem again as if for the first time. The Nunnehi must spend at least a month purifying themself and making numerous gifts to the offended spirit. At the end of that time, they again follows the steps outlined below for gaining a totem. If their gifts have been freely given and offered with true regret for the distance that has grown between them, and the Nunnehi has actually changed their ways, the totem spirit will accept them back and restore the benefits which were lost in the separation.
Such a restoration is possible only once, however, and if the Nunnehi offends their totem again, the relationship is severed forever. While it is theoretically possible for a Nunnehi to find another totem willing to accept them, in practice, asking a new spirit to offend another totem in such a manner calls for the Nunnehi character to spend experience points to re-buy the Totem Background at a cost of five experience points per dot. Those who lose their totems are called "the ones who walk alone."
Each Nunnehi has a spiritual connection with a totem spirit. Their close ties to nature have granted them the ability to contact the totems of plants (including trees), rocks, and bodies of water. Simply because the connection is there, however, does not mean that every Nunnehi takes advantage of it. Some choose not to ally themselves with totem spirits, and thus do not have to consider the feelings and wishes of a spirit when deciding on a course of action or performing certain tasks. Such Nunnehi are counted among "those who walk alone," and are greatly pitied by Nunnehi with totem allies. Those Nunnehi who have no totem spirit are unable to enter the spirit world except if brought there by other Nunnehi who do have such connections.
Contacting a totem spirit marks the "coming-of-age" of a Nunnehi. By the time a Nunnehi has awakened to their faerie nature, they have usually received some indication of the identity of their totem — either through a dream or vision quest or by frequent contact with physical manifestations of the totem.
For example, as a nanehi youngling, Crooked Feather became lost in the forest during a thunderstorm. When hunters from her tribe found her, Crooked Feather was sleeping peacefully beneath the shelter of a stand of white birch trees. Later, she dreamed of a handsome brave clad in clothes made from birch bark. These occurrences seemed to indicate to Crooked Feather and to the elders ofher tribe that she had an affinity with the Birch Tree totem. Upon becoming a brave, Crooked Feather would contact her totem spirit and might change her name to Shining Birch.
A Nunnehi preparing to contact their totem spirit for the first time must prepare themself through participating in a tribal ritual such as "going to water" (total immersion in a stream or pond of pure water) or visiting a sweat lodge. Once they have purified themself, the Nunnehi then places themself in the presence of a physical representation of their totem. A tribal elder or mentor (usually one with the same totem or whose totem is also physically manifested in the chosen location) then crosses into the spirit world, taking the aspirant with them. Once there, the Nunnehi seeking contact must sing to the totem to draw it to them.
Totem alliance is "purchased" through the Background Trait: Totem. Nunnehi gain the following advantages from a totem alliance:
- A Nunnehi's alliance with a totem is necessary for them to be able to enter the spirit world; without it, they cannot enter the Upper World, no matter their Arts or Realms.
- A Nunnehi gains certain adjustments to their Advantages and/or Abilities, depending on the totem they allie with.
- This relationship between nunnehi and totem is practiced through stewardship of the totem's material children (fir trees for the Fir totem, granite outcrops and rocks for the Granite totem, etc.). By forming a relationship with a totem, the Nunnehi has opened a line of communication with that spirit. The totem may tell the Nunnehi important information, suggest courses of action to them, guide them on a vision quest, and on occasion, may even imbue its Nunnehi ally with Medicine.
Entering the Spirit World
According to native belief, there is not one world, but three. Surrounding, penetrating, and overlaying the physical world are two spirit realms. Native Americans refer to these as the Upper, Middle and Lower Worlds. The Middle World is the world of Humankind where all people dwell. It is the world the Creator made for the enjoyment of all, humans and animals alike. Apart from, but still a part of the Middle World are the Upper and Lower Worlds.
The Upper World is the realm of spirits, the Umbra, where totems, guardians and messengers have their homes. Each rock, plant, tree and animal has a spirit associated with it, and these spirits reside in the Upper World watching over and guiding those in the Middle World. The Upper World is a place similar to the Middle World, but far more natural and imbued with potent energies. Most things in the Upper World take their shape from those on the physical plane, but appear more pure than their physical counterparts. The Upper World is like a spiritual reflection of the Earth, where everything is revealed for its true nature. In the Upper World, the living spirit of a tree can be seen and spoken with in a way that is usually not possible in the Middle or physical World. Movement through the Upper World is accomplished in the same manner as the Middle World: by foot, swimming, or riding. The difference is that thought is the key to movement. Walking, running, or swimming occurs at the speed of thought, with the Nunnehi moving from one area to another as fast as they can envision themself actually traversing the distance. Riding requires that the Nunnehi contact a willing spirit and persuade it to carry them.
The Lower World is the world of the dead; the Underworld. Things there are said to be similar to their physical counterparts, but gray and faded. The earth is ash, there are no colors, sounds are muted, and smells and tastes nonexistent. Among the native tribes, death is not viewed as unnatural or the end, but as part of life's cycle; a necessary change that allows those who have lived out their allotted span to move on and gives others the room to live. Native Americans honor the dead, but they fear the retribution of angry ghosts should they not be properly honored and laid to rest.
Travel to the Upper World
Though they are cut off from the Higher Hunting Grounds, the Nunnehi are much valued as messengers and go-betweens because they are able to enter or interact with these spirit realms. Nunnehi may enter the Upper World in the presence of their totem material. Thus, some places are off-limits for Nunnehi due to the lack of availability of their totem's material form. The level of spirituality of the chosen spot has a great effect on the success or failure of the Nunnehi's attempt to enter the spirit world. The spirituality of a place changes according to the relative purity of the chosen source. For example, Nunnehi who have located a city park and who wish to enter the spirit world in that relatively "wild" spot, may find that the local examples of their totem spirit contain too many impurities from city pollutants to enable them to enter the Upper World.
- System: Nunnehi must have at least one dot in both the Wayfare Art and the Nature Realm, since those forms of fae magic govern the powers of movement and natural settings. While it is possible for the Nunnehi to enter the Umbra with only one dot each of Wayfare and Nature, doing so increases the difficulty level by two. Those Nunnehi who are proficient at "crossing over" have Wayfare 3 or higher (Portal Passage) and Nature 2 (Verdant Forest).The Nunnehi simply "walks into" their totem material — by stepping in a river, plunging into a thicket of mountain laurel, or disappearing into a giant oak, for example.
A Bunk must be performed, but the number of successes is not automatic; the player must roll dice to see if their character succeeds or not. Thus, the Nunnehi rolls Wits (for Wayfare) + Mythlore (for Nature). The difficulty for this passage is determined by the spirituality of the area. The spirituality of a place is expressed by the amount of Banality present in that area. A very spiritual place, such as a pristine forest, would have a low Banality rating. The surrounding Banality must be overcome for the Nunnehi to successfully enter the spirit world at that place.
|Area||Typical Banality Rating|
|Science Lab, Mall||Impossible, no naturally occurring material present|
|Suburbs, City Park||8|
|Atop High Mesa,
Mountain Top or
Other place of power
|Impure Totem Material||+1 to +3|
|Using less than Wayfare 3
and Nature 2
|Pure Totem Material||-2 to -3|
Entering the Umbra
|0||Failure; may not try again
for another hour
- When "caught," the Nunnehi can neither be seen nor attacked by physical denizens, but evil spirits wander the Upper World looking for such trapped spirit travelers. After an hour has passed, the Nunnehi can try again to complete the travel. If that fails, they cannot leave on their own. If not found and pulled through by another Nunnehi, a Garou, or a spirit, they will be caught forever.
The Nunnehi rolls her Wits + Mythlore versus the difficulty of the local Banality (See above). Three successes indicate instant success, two successes require 30 seconds for the transfer to take place, while a single success means that the Nunnehi needs a fullfive minutes to effect her entry into the Upper World. If the roll fails, the Nunnehi is unable to enter the spirit world and may not try again for another hour. A botch means that the Nunnehi is "caught" between the physical world and the spirit world. If another attempt made after an hour passes fails, the Nunnehi is trapped and may not move until another Nunnehi, a sympathetic Garou, or a creature from the spirit world rescues her.
For Nunnehi, every location in the world has a Banality rating between 2 and 9. The higher the Banality, the more difficult it is for a Nunnehi to enter the Upper World. As always, final determination of the difficulty for entering the spirit world is left to the Storyteller's decision.
A Nunnehi can bring other changelings into the spirit world with them. They must have the Fae Realm of the appropriate level (1 for commoners, 2 for nobles) and spend one Medicine point for every person brought over. All those attempting to cross into the Upper World must hold hands.
A changeling who cannot cross into the spirit world may find themself caught there if their guide leaves them. In this case, they may search out a trod (a long and dangerous task) and return to the physical world from there.
The Nunnehi's ability to enter the spirit world provides them with many advantages. Banality is rare there, and spirits abound who might provide the Nunnehi with information and advice.
Ancient trods exist in the Upper World; old spirit realms and domains of faerie power from before the gates to Arcadia and the entries to the Higher Hunting Grounds closed. These have been empty for many centuries, unvisited by the fae. Some Nunnehi have sought these places out and use them to gain Medicine or expunge Banality, allowing them a connection to the Dreaming they otherwise do not have. However, the journey to these far-off trods is usually fraught with danger, for many evil spirits see changelings as a tasty snack.
The Nunnehi & Banality
Even the faintest touch of humans can cause a place to become infected with Banality. The Banality of a place is of little concern to the average Kithain; however, due to their closer ties to nature, the Banality of a place can have some adverse affect the Nunnehi by making it more difficult for them to enter the spirit world. This Banality has no other ill effects on them, and is not noticeable for the most part. Extremely nasty Storytellers may wish to have a particularly Banal place raise the difficulty for casting cantrips or at the very least give the characters an uneasy feeling.
Speaking With the Dead
While Nunnehi are not physically able to travel to the Lower World, they do have access to the Art known as Spirit Link. This Art not only allows them to speak with the spirits of the Upper World and those that inhabit objects, items and animals in the Middle World, it also allows them to communicate with the spirits of the dead who inhabit the Lower World. Many tribes depend upon those among them who evince this talent for assurances that the dead have been properly reverenced and harbor no resentments against the living. These communications are addressed not only to dead humans, but to the spirits of dead animals (usually those slain in the hunt and eaten) as well.
Songs of Power (Nunnehi Cantrips)
Nunnehi are quite different from their changeling cousins in their attitudes about Medicine and cantrips. Rather than referring to them as cantrips, the Nunnehi call their magic "Songs of Power." When using cantrips, Nunnehi not only perform the Bunk required to enact the magic, but chant, hum, sing or whisper words, nonsense syllables or a tune to focus themselves as well. Even if gagged or prevented from making noise, so long as the Nunnehi makes an attempt to sing their song of power and is not prevented from performing the other Bunk required, they can bring their magic into play. Some Nunnehi feel more comfortable beating a drum, shaking a rattle or dancing, and these are acceptable substitutes. It is their belief that all such songs originated in the Higher Hunting Grounds, were given into the safekeeping of the spirits of the Upper World and were taught to the Nunnehi as the need for them arose. They are not, therefore, toys to be used frivolously or wasted on a whim. They are serious magic.
Most Nunnehi feel that they are, in some ways, the caretakers of Medicine. They feel that they have been entrusted with powerful secrets, and that it is their duty to see that such powers are used wisely. The Nunnehi believe that the spirits of the Upper World watch them to make certain that they don't misuse the songs of power. This belief leads Nunnehi to justify (either before or after) the use and necessity for using the songs whenever they do so. Sometimes this causes the Nunnehi to delay their action while they make offerings, performs a purification ritual or state their reasons to the spirits and those around them who might be agents of the spirits.
No one said the Nunnehi are not vain. There is more of a conscious sense among Nunnehi of being part of an ongoing story or a living legend than is usual among other changelings. Part of their approach to using songs of power is done with a view to how it will sound when the story of their deeds is later told around the campfire or sung of at a powwow. They use their songs of power with more ceremony and are quite aware of crafting them to create dramatic moments — but use them only when they are appropriate.
Nunnehi magic is often used as part of a ceremony or ritual, whether tribal or personal. Often, they use their Medicine at the request of others or for the general good of their Nunnehi Nation or mortal tribe. Rarely do they indulge themselves simply for convenience's sake. This is particularly true of the Wayfare, Soothsay and Spirit Link Arts.
Soothsay and Spirit Link are considered too important to be wasted on minor issues. When they are used, the Nunnehi usually undergoes a purification ritual and engages in a ceremony designed to earn the favor of the spirits first. Naturally, in an emergency, such things can be dispensed with, so long as the Nunnehi performs a lengthy thanksgiving ceremony afterwards.
Because they see themselves as part of an ongoing story, Nunnehi usually prefer to travel by normal means rather than via Wayfare whenever possible. To them, the journey is as important as the destination. Journeys are symbolic representations of the passage from one stage to another, and are therefore a part of the cycle of life. When they really need to get somewhere faster or utilize the other Wayfare powers, they do so, but only to save a life, prevent a catastrophe, or if it is the only way they can travel to a certain place.
Naturally, not all Nunnehi are equally concerned with maintaining a balance or refrain from overuse of their powers. Some Winter people (and even a few Summer people and Tricksters) abuse their gifts, using them to garner personal power at the expense of others or bullying someone simply because they can. These Nunnehi have embraced dark spirit energy, and are considered by most Nunnehi to have perverted the songs of power. Nevertheless, many such Nunnehi become powerful warriors or witches (a term used for either male or female sorcerers) and can be quite dangerous. These are, in fact, the most likely Nunnehi to raid other changelings' freeholds and attack them in the wilds.
Although Nunnehi characters may possess any of the standard changeling Arts, they are more apt to specialize in Primal, Soothsay, and Wayfare. In addition, Nunnehi have their own Art called Spirit Link.
Nunnehi magic affects the same Realms as the magic of standard changelings.
Nunnehi must also perform Bunks to perform their songs of power.
The Medicine Bag
There exists one piece of personal adornment that Nunnehi always wear—the medicine bag. A medicine bag is a small pouch, usually made of deer skin or some other supple hide. It may be decorated with shells, feathers, tufts of hair, beads, or quillwork, or it may be plain. Medicine bags are strung on thongs and worn around the neck. Nunnehi place items they feel a connection to in their medicine hags — small stones, feathers, bits of wood or flint, or anything else that they feel is important to their life or that symbolizes their totem or animal companions.
The medicine bag is at once and the same time a protective amulet and a summation of a Nunnehi's life up to the present time. Whenever something of significance occurs, the Nunnehi adds something symbolic of that event or that was in the area when the event occurred to his bag. Nunnehi believe that all the items they have chosen to place inside their hags become imbued with spirit energy. If something is lost from the bag, given away, or stolen, the Nunnehi feels incomplete until its place is filled by something else of significance. Until such an item is found and acquired (for which a quest might be required), the Nunnehi gains one less success in any Medicine they attempt to use. If the whole medicine bag is stolen or destroyed, the Nunnehi must undertake a quest to replace it and its contents as nearly as possible with duplicates of what was lost. Until they do so, they are at - 2 successes in the use of any songs of power due to the psychological distress involved in the loss of their medicine bag.
The spirits of plants, minerals, and the elements are frequently willing to adopt Nunnehi as their charges. This relationship between a Nunnehi and their "totem" spirit enables them to enter the Upper World/Umbra. The spirits detailed in this section do not cover the full range of beings available as totem spirits for Nunnehi, but are meant to provide the Storyteller with ideas for designing others for use in a chronicle involving Nunnehi characters. A Storyteller whose chronicle is set in the North American Southwest, for example, may draw upon their knowledge or research of that region in order to come up with totem spirits of plants and minerals or natural phenomena specific to the land of deserts and canyons. Additional rock and plant spirits can be found in Axis Mundi, a supplement to Werewolf: The Apocalypse and adapted for use in Nunnehi chronicles.
- Saguaro Cactus
- Father Peyote
- Berto "Rattlesnake" Muñoz
- Gray Eagle
- Izusa Whitestone
- Crying Tears
- Aiyana Flower-That-Blooms
- Smiling River
- Leaping Waters
- Bright Otter
Changeling: The Dreaming Nunnehi