Tusken Raider

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Tusken Raider
LanguageTusken [1]
Average Height1.8 to 1.9 meters [1]
Skin colorunknown
Hair colorunknown
Distinctionsrobes covering entire body, head covered by strips of cloth, breath mask and eye protection, Gadaffii Weapon
Average lifespanunknown

General Information

Tusken Raiders, commonly called Sand People, are nomadic desert inhabitants on Tatooine that roam the Jundland Wastes. They are called the Tusken Raiders because of their notable attack against the human settlement at Fort Tusken. The Sandpeople have had a deep hatred for humanity. They dress in heavy cloth robes, and have covered their heads with strips of cloth to hold a breath mask and eye protection on. They have learned how to train the banthas native to Tatooine as mounts, and a marauding group of Tuskens will ride them single file, to hide their numbers. Each raider works with the same bantha for life. When a raider's mount is killed or dies, the raider is left to wander the desert alone. If the bantha's spirit deems it so, the raider will be befriended by another bantha. Otherwise, the raider will die in the sands. On the other hand, if a Tusken is killed or dies, its bantha is turned out into the desert. Although the Sandpeople are aggressive and violent by nature, they have deep-seated traditions that they cling to tightly. Young raiders are required to prove their adulthood in various physical activities, the hardest of which is the manhood ritual of hunting down a krayt dragon. While the Sandpeople have no written language, the most revered member of a Tusken clan is the storyteller. He knows the life-story of every member of his clan, and also knows of the clan's history. The storyteller is required to memorize the histories word-for-word, eliminating any chance for misinterpretation or distortion. Apprentice storytellers often are more hard-pressed to prove themselves than warriors, for a single mistake in reciting the histories means instant death. As violent as their nature is, Sandpeople stay as far from the moisture farmers as the farmers do them. There are occasional attacks on the more outlying settlements. A few scientists have claimed the Tuskens have human origins, but the autopsies done on what little dead they leave behind have revealed distinctly engineered eyes and other non-human characteristics.

The term Sandpeople was given to them due to their existence in the desert, and was in use from at least around Year -4,000.[1]

Biology and appearance

It has been stated that Tusken Raiders were biologically incompatible with Humans. This implies that Tusken Raiders comprise a non-Human species.[1]

Sandpeople are known to adopt settler orphans after raids on Human settlements and convoys, in a similar fashion to Mandalorians. Also, a Jedi Knight is said to have won a place in their tribes through his great combat prowess. Beyond these isolated and uncommon incidents, there is no indication that Humans were ever present in any great number amongst the Tuskens.[1]

It is thought that Tuskens and Jawas share common ancestry in the Kumumgah, who were taken off world by the Infinite Empire to work as slaves on other planets. Since the Kumumgah are considered a possible origin species for Humanity, it is possible that Tuskens and Humans share ancestry; however, the connection is not close enough to allow inter-breeding, and their unmasked appearance is distinctive.[1]

Society and Culture

Tusken culture is defined first and foremost by the climatic extremes of Tatooine: barren wastes stretching for days' journey on end, scoured by harsh, arid winds and searing heat by day; icy, deadly stillness after dark.[1]

Practical survival is the first priority in terrain like this, and to protect themselves, the Sandpeople learned early in their existence to cover themselves from head to foot in desert-colored rags and robes, leaving no bare skin exposed to the elements. It is perhaps no surprise that these outward trappings came to be the most basic tokens of Tusken Raiders identity—their mode of dress was, after all, a direct expression of their way of life.[1]

They raid mostly through both the Jundland Wastes and the Dune Sea, however, any creatures, particularly offworlders, were subject to their savage attacks. Traveling on trained banthas, raiding parties will swiftly appear from the desert, riding in single file to conceal their numbers, and then disappear back into the cover of the dunes with trophies and prisoners. Due to their lack of advanced technology, their primitive society and viciousness, they are considered barbaric monsters by most of the galactic populace.[1]

Although Tusken garb varies from tribe to tribe, certain aspects of dress remained constant. The eyes of Sandpeople are covered with goggles or visors which shield them from the harsh sunlight. Below the eyes two pipes protrude from the mask, most likely to facilitate breathing. A constantly open mouthpiece covers the area between the nose and jaw, while a moisture trap worn around the neck humidifies the air taken into the lungs. Sandpeople are also recognizable by their fierce Gaderffii weapons. The Gaderffii is so integral to their culture that Tuskens often commit ritual suicide in the event that an injury makes them unable to properly wield the weapon. While rejecting most examples of modern technology, long-barreled Tusken Cycler rifles and stoves made of scavenged or stolen metal are not uncommon.[1]

Tuskens are forbidden to take off their protective clothing in front of others, except in a few very specific circumstances: at childbirth, on their wedding night and during coming-of-age rituals (two events which are often one and the same), and as adults, only in the privacy of their tents with their blood-bound mates. Breaking this rule means either banishment or death, depending on the specific tribe rules.[1]

The emphasis on outward appearance and concealment of physical form also enables—and disguises—one of the most striking elements of Tusken culture: although the Sandpeople are regarded as alien savages by Tatooine's Human colonists, an unknown proportion of the Tusken population were, at least by the last decades of the Galactic Republic, every bit as Human as the settlers themselves.[1]

Sandpeople organize in clans and tribes, the former being kin-groups of between 20 to 30 beings, and the latter being larger affinities with no strict bounds. In a typical tribe, the adult males typically assume the role of hunter and protector, often leaving their camps for an extended period of time. Females, often accompanied by massiff guard animals, care for the children, known as uli-ah, and the seasonal camps. After completing the rites of adulthood at the age of fifteen, the uli-ah are granted full status within the tribe and paired for marriage in a ceremony involving blood exchanges between the male, female and their banthas.[1]

Tuskens subsist primarily on hubba gourds, and moisture farmers take great humor in the fact that they become intoxicated on just a few sips of sugar water. It is unknown if there is a carnivorous facet to their diet.[1]

While leading a lifestyle that is primarily nomadic, there are two exceptions to the rule: when the hot season is at its height, semi-permanent camps would be constructed; and particular caves or hollows, spiritually connected to certain clans (usually where the dead are buried or special ceremonies would be held) are frequently visited. Special water wells such as the one in Gafsa Canyon, sacred due to their rarity, are often vehemently protected.[1]

Many rituals hold Sandpeople society together. In many tribes, adolescent Sandpeople are tasked with a ritual known as the "bloodrite", in which a youth proves their hunting skills by capturing a creature and fatally torturing it with techniques extending the pain for weeks before death. Most opted for creatures like dewback or desert wraid, the greatest prestige is reserved for a hunter who performes the rite upon a sentient being. The most prestigious test of an adult male is to hunt and slay a Krayt Dragon, and retrieve a pearl from its stomach. Oftentimes, members of the tribe create spirit masks out of natural materials for use in the ensuing ritual and celebration.[1]

Additionally, Tuskens occasionally enjoy firing upon podracers who participate in the Boonta Eve Races, as a sort of sport and show of marksmanship, and as retaliation for the intrusion of their lands.[1]

The Sandpeople speak a guttural language known as Tusken. Many individual names are long and marked by numerous stops, such as Grk'Urr'Akk, Grk'kkrs'arr, Orr'Agg'Rorr Orrh Or'Ur and Orr'UrRuuR'R. However, shorter names like Sliven are also recorded in some clans, and some Tuskens, like A'Sharad Hett and his mother K'Sheek bore patronymic (and perhaps matronymic) names formed from a parent's given name and a prefix: A' meaning "son of" and apparently K', "daughter of".[1]

Other known Tusken words include urtah (carrying pack) and urtya (light tent). As a rule, Tuskens also possess a rudimentary knowledge of Huttese and Jawaese, as they come into contact with these languages quite frequently.[1]


The Kumumgah once lived apart from the land, in great cities all over the then lush world of Tatooine. Over millennia the Kumumgah achieved space travel among the worlds of the Outer Rim and beyond attracting attention of the the Rakatan Infinite Empire. This period of conflict between the species was referred to as the Kumumgah Rebellion. Some time between Year -30,000 and Year -25,200 , the Kumumgah defied the Rakata and were punished by orbital bombardment, which slagged the surface of Tatooine into little more than fused glass; crumbling over the subsequent tens of thousands of years and becaming desert sand. This resulted in the divergence of two separate species from the Kumumgah, the Gorfa and the Jawas.[1]