Legba, remove the barrier for me So I may pass back to Earth When I come back, I will salute the loa. Marie Laveau from Voodoo Dreams, Jewell Parker Rhodes
The Tribe Sometimes, when the waters are murky, a thing is best described by talking about what it is like.
Among all the tribes, the Uktena are most like the Silent Striders in that they bear the legacy of the dispossessed. Once the eldest tribe of the Pure Ones, those Garou who crossed the land bridge over what was later to become the Bering Strait and ventured forth into a new world, they are now a mixed remnant of their former pure selves. Uktena, unlike their surviving Wendigo cousins, now range from Native American to African and Asian stock. And with this racial diversity has come a spiritual diversity that is unrivaled by any of the other tribes. The Uktena, again like the Silent Striders, are the only two tribes known to commonly have traffic with the dead. But even in the Dark Umbra this southern tribe is not at all like their Egyptian kin; for while the Striders hold that they are protectors of those on the shadowed paths, the Uktena make no such claims -- their interactions are tailored by their own dark motives.
Among all the tribes, only the Children of Gaia draw together so many diverse elements into the tapestry of their tribe. But while the Children of Gaia are a sanctuary for all Garou, the Uktena have become a haven primarily for persecuted visionaries and mystics. They have gathered wisdom from the corners of the globe. Vodun. Eastern spiritualism. Shamanism. The Uktena have studied magic among the Pumonca and Qualmi Bastet. Walked the deep Umbral paths with Nuwisha guides. Coaxed secrets from the Corax. And with this diversity of lore has come great strength.
Among all the tribes, the Uktena rival the Shadow Lords as the tribe that walks most closely along the line between the Wyld and the Wyrm. But the Wyrm does not tempt the Uktena with power over their fellows as it tempts the regal Lords. It tempts them with forbidden knowledge, leading them one step at a time along the darkest paths, trying at every opportunity to cause them to misstep. Tempered by years of oppression, the Uktena keep their secrets hidden from the other tribes. Only they know at what cost their lore has been obtained. Only they know at what cost it must be kept close lest it lead others astray in a world not of their making.
Each tribe has its own myths that surround it. Consider this early log, an exchange of riddles, and see the Uktena's love of mystery.
Like the other tribes, as well, the Uktena have their share of problems with mules, prejudice, and rage. In this example, Robin-Lost-Road's tongue gets her in trouble as easily as any other tribe's Metis would have in her case.
Like the other tribes, Uktena society is broken into its own camps. The Uktena are not a uniform, conformist tribe; their spiritual disparity makes this impossible. The environment in which any individual Garou is raised and Rited will contribute greatly towards their overall beliefs. For Uktena pure of breed and bearing the full weight of their Native American heritage, this can mean a Garou who leans towards her Wendigo brothers in terms of prejudices while a Vodun priestess may carry no such baggage. There are, in all, a half dozen Uktena camps and an even wider range of values within the tribe.
The Uktena discovered that the Pure Lands were not as pure as was first thought; Great Banes, ancient and bloated, slept in deep lairs that had been unscathed by the cleansing talons of Gaia's glaciers. Tenders of these banes, tasked with ensuring that they remain dormant, are universally feared and shunned by the rest of their tribe. Their existence is also rumored among the other tribes where their reputations are no less dark.
Earth Guides encourage their descendants to practice Native American traditions and inspire the children of the Wyrmcomers to follow the paths of the Mother.
This camp is dedicated to keeping the traditional ways alive and to honoring the memory of the lost tribe of the Pure Lands, the Croatan. Leaning toward a mystical way of ridding the Pure Lands of the Wyrm's influence, both Uktena and Wendigo are part of this camp. Probably the biggest distinction between this camp and that of the Earth Guides is the ultimate goal of each; Earth Guides are dedicated to bringing the Wyrmcomer tribes into the fold while the members of the Ghost Dance still seek to rid the Pure Lands of their influence.
Scouts and Raiders
Scouts carry messages of great import between Caerns and are highly respected and trusted. Raiders steal items of great mystical importance from the Wyrm's minions; they are, alas, not so widely trusted because it is feared that close contact with the Wyrm is not without its consequences.
Explorers of the Deep Umbra, the Skywalkers spend the bulk of their time on spiritual journeys in search of allies in the fight against the Wyrm. There have been no Skywalkers at the Caern of the Wheel Renewed, primarily because the nature of the camp makes it an awkward choice for a MUSH environment.
These rare Uktena, respected by all, have left behind everything in pursuit of a visionquest or seeking to look upon the Wyld in its most primal form. Rarely encountered, this pursuit is not without its dangers as these encounters with such primal forces have left many Wyld Chyldren shorn of sanity.
A Few Words on 'Being Uktena'
There are only a few hard and fast rules for creating a member of any tribe and those you will find in White Wolf's books, not here. What we can offer, though, is at least a bit of insight on being Uktena. Not a definitive answer, but a few ideas that may help.
You will find Uktena characters on the MUSH who are traditional and spirit bound as well as ones who are modern and down-to-earth. This aspect isn't what is important -- not all Uktena wander about talking to the air. Nor do all Get of Fenris enjoy the snap of bone and the rending of flesh. But the stereotypes that White Wolf provide give you a framework that you can play around.
In making your character, take the time to consider what other Garou think of the tribe. Standing on the outside, looking in, most Garou paint a fairly dark picture of this mystical tribe. No honour. No trust. Given over to the Wyrm. Hiding secrets that the rest of the tribes need to survive.
Now consider how your character shapes and is shaped by these stereotypes. For example, your character won't get far really embodying these traits. That is to say, playing him or her and the entire tribe as untrustworthy, willing to make deals with the Wyrm for power at the drop of a feather, and holding their own interests above Gaia's. Uktena aren't Black Spiral Dancers who haven't announced their allegiance yet -- if you play them that way, you will only limit the role. Uktena do have honour. They do have wisdom. And they fight for Gaia as much as the other tribes do. But Uktena see the world in different colours.
So, if their secretive nature is not because the Uktena really are creatures of the Wyrm, why do they act as they do? For most, it is behaviour that has been shaped by the way they have been treated by the world. Uktena do have secret lore and knowledge that the other tribes do not. They keep it to themselves not from jealousy but because they do not trust that the other tribes have the wisdom or the self-restraint to use it properly.
Think on that tribal view and you can see how the other tribes come to view the Uktena the way that they do. Then shape your character around that world view and consider how (s)he fits into this world.
In another example of how this worldview affects intra-tribal relations, consider the reaction of Eligio Sacateca to Rose's failure on her Rite of Passage. Her failure to think like an Uktena, and not like a Get, was her downfall.