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Chakotay's Tribe

Although many of Chakotay's people now live on a planet on the very edge of Federation space, they have their origins on Earth. The tribe and it's ancestors' long history took a dramatic turn 45,000 years ago when a very advanced race they know as Sky Spirits visited them. At that time, Chakotay's ancestors were a small, peaceful, nomadic group living very simply in Earth's farthest North regions. The Sky Spirits were very impressed with the great respect they had for life and gave this tribe a genetic inheritance that made the people more intelligent and perceptive and helped them survive great adversity over the centuries.

Their genetic inheritance propelled the nomads to migrate south - toward more fertile land in Earth's North and Central America, where they became part of the Native American population.

Brutal Invaders

After a long period of peaceful freedom and prosperity for the tribe, foreign invaders came, bringing with them slavery, disease and conflict. The tribe scattered, and many of the inheritors died. One group who became known as the Rubber Tree People survived, almost untouched by the invaders, in the Central American rainforest. The Rubber Tree People still live in Central America in the 24th century and have little contact with the rest of their world. Another group descended from the original nomads left Earth and made a new home on another planet; Chakotay is descended from these people.

The Visit The nomads' encounter with the Sky Spirits is recorded in their mythology. According to the legends, the Sky Spirits actually fashioned the Rubber Tree People in their own image. But by the 24th century, many of Chakotay's people believe that the story of their tribe's origins is a metaphor rather than a factual account of events. The Rubber Tree People keep the traditions of their ancestors sacred in a more concentrated way than those who left Earth. They rarely intermarry with other tribes and maintain 'primitive' ways of life. They choose not to avail themselves of more advanced technology in order to honour their inheritance and the Sky Spirits.

Rubber Tree PeopleThe Rubber Tree people are recognizable primarily by a pronounced, bony forehead, and a tattoo on the left side of their foreheads. Kolopak's tattoo This is the same tattoo that Chakotay bears, having adopted it after his father's death, in honour of him and his beliefs. Their language still bears remarkable similarities to that of Chakotay's people, and can be recognized by it's tonal, sung quality. They live in circular huts made of inter-linked branches. The Rubber Tree People carry primitive spears and shields, though they are not warlike by nature. They have, however, learned to protect themselves and their land from contact with many violent invaders, and will not hesitate to fight if necessary. Because the rain forest is teeming with life, it is the perfect habitat for them since they believe in peaceful friendship with everything in nature. Killing anything is against their entire belief system.

A CHAH-mooz-eeTo honour nature they carve or write the ancient healing symbol, a CHAH-mooz-eeTree CHAH-mooz-ee anywhere that they may have caused damage, like the site of a campfire or a chopped down tree.

StoneThe CHAH-mooz-ee is also believed by some to be a map to the cosmos. This stone has the CHAH-mooz-ee inscribed on it, but also some other symbols that together, could be a guide to navigating space.

Prayers and Meditations

medicine bundleChakotay's people maintain many of the same traditions as their cousins in the Rubber Tree People. They have a traditional prayer ritual called the Pakra to commemorate a loved one's death. In this solitary ritual, they ask for guidance from the spirits and speak to the loved one. The Vision Quest is another spiritual journey, often induced with the aid of a modern scientific device known as an akoonah, in which the Akoonahperson asks for guidance from supernatural forces. It is aided by the medicine bundle that each member of the tribe assembles; Chakotay's bundle contains a blackbird wing and a polished river stone marked with a CHAH-mooze-ee inside two deer pelts. The quest begins and ends with the word of blessing, "A-Koo-chee-moya." It is also used to discover a person's animal spirit guide, which guides and protects you as you make your way through life. The animal guide chooses you, rather than the other way around, and once you have found your animal guide, it is considered to be offensive to the guide if you speak about it; thus the relationship continues as a private, spiritual one.

Each tribe member's name is also considered sacred, a gift from the tribe, that one has to earn and be worthy of.

In search of the past

KolopakOver the years, Chakotay's people, like the rest of humanity, lost touch with the Rubber Tree People. Locating these ancestors was extremely important to Chakotay's father Kolopak, and he took Chakotay on a mission to Earth when he was a boy. Young Chakotay The two found the Rubber Tree People living in the American jungle and discovered that there were still significant similarities between the two branches of the tribe.

Distant Origins

When he finds a CHAH-mooz-ee drawn on the surface of a planet in the Delta Quadrant, Chakotay realises that the legend of the Sky Spirits may actually be Ancestor true.Chakotay's TattooThe U.S.S Voyager NCC-74656 tracks a warp trail to a nearby planet, where Chakotay finds the aliens who visited his people so many centuries ago. The Sky Spirits tell him that they believed all the members of his tribe had been destroyed, and they are delighted to discover that they were wrong.

Information gathered and transcribed from "The Official Star Trek Fact Files" and the 'Star Trek: Voyager' episode, "Tattoo".

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