The Nizhoni Tribes (meaning: beautiful) are the Pokemon-of-Avalon universe's equivalent of real-life Native American tribes of North America. As they are a bunch of tribes created entirely by group members, no two tribes will ever be the same. Their patron is the Legendary Pokemon Zapdos.
The reason that Zapdos is the Nizhoni tribes' official patron is that many of them have a wider range of what is considered animate, and the phenomenon of thunder and lightning is one of those prime examples. In fact, it is believe that such phenomena are a result of the Thunder Beings, birds who talk to people via thunder and lightning strikes, and that is indeed how Zapdos communicates with these tribes.
- Lusio's Umbra
The people of the Nizhoni tribes have always been around. As their traditions are exclusively oral and their view of time is cyclical, it is difficult to tell just exactly when each tribe first came around. Some tribes came up from under the ground; others descended from the sky, and still others came here from migrating from other places and wanting to start a new life. Whatever the case, it is implied from their mythology that there have been various times the tribes have made mistakes that almost caused their extinction, and thus, have learned much wisdom such as to make peace with the land, which defines their traditions today.
Over 500 different tribes comprise of the area collectively known as the Nizhoni tribes, each with different customs as well as the people living there; however, the common denominator between them all includes the belief that anything in nature can become sacred, their exclusively oral traditions, the fact that they don’t see religions as religions so much as ways of life, and the emphasis on directly experiencing powers or visions. Most significantly, however, is their amazing ability to adapt their traditions to changing times, even if from just one person. If a person has a dream or vision that is recognized as extremely significant from the community’s perspective, then whole new rituals and ways of life could spring up from that one vision. It is rumored that it is because of this ability that the Hoshizora tribe took the new Fairy-type so well, and even celebrated it by changing their name to the Pelaruna tribe.
Nizhoni tribes tend to have a far wider range on what they consider animate compared to other cultures; stones, rivers, pots of stew, medicine bundles, trees, wind, and even the aforementioned thunder and lightning can all be considered alive, and thus, are capable of not only being talked and listened to, but are worthy of respect. It is not a strict animism, though; not ALL stones, for example, are seen as alive, but only certain ones. They all do have the potential for becoming sacred. However, the fact that geographic locations are considered sacred and alive means that their religious traditions are strictly tied to that location; if they move, they risk becoming adrift and not being able to practice their religions at all. That said, not all of them are rooted in one place; some of them move around from time to time to follow berry harvests, herds of animals, and fish as they swim up or downstream.
An interesting thing to note are the most powerful kinds of people in the tribes; the shamans, and the clowns. The shamans are advanced medicine people who are adept at being able to go into a trance so they can access the spirit world, heal people, and even retrieving souls from the land of the dead. The clowns are more than just mere entertainers of the tribe; they are the bold ones who can do what no other tribal member ever dares to do, such as wearing and doing everything backwards, portraying the folly and excesses of people, and performing incredibly disrespectful acts on sacred sites or during sacred ceremonies. Yet the tribes permit these in the right contexts because the clowns, in this way, show people the kinds of things that are considered "over the boundaries" in their cultures, and prevents them from seeing their customs and ways as absolute truths. It makes them more amenable to adapting their ways to changing times, and in this way, the clowns themselves are considered and seen as more powerful than even the shamans.
Unlike the people in, say, Khetmaat, the religions of the Nizhoni tribes focus far more on this life over the next, which they feel cannot be known for certain. Some tribes, however, do have beliefs as to where souls go when people die, and usually, it's a way that continues the cycle of life.
Tends to be other Nizhoni tribes who are aggressive/have type advantages over them.