Society of the ethnic Gallente, part 2
Continued from part 1.
Gallente religious practices are many and varied, mostly due to the fact that there was never any universal religion or specific culture on the Gallente Prime homeworld to begin with. Many citizens in the Federation have adopted the religious beliefs of non-Luminaire cultures (such as the Amarr, Intaki, Sisters of EVE, or even the Sani Sabik) but there are several indigenous beliefs that date back to the Age of the Ancients, before the rise of the Garoun Empire. These practices have changed in countless different ways over the years, with several subsets and branches, fusing with one another or with that of foreign cultures in seemingly endless combinations.
There are many ancient practices that originate from Luminaire, or those which have developed on other worlds over time (or picked up from indigenous peoples). As far as Luminaire is concerned, the four largest practices are polytheism, dualism, animism, and monotheism. Polytheism was the state religion for the Garoun Empire, and became somewhat widespread through cultural exportation (when the Empire collapsed, however, such influence diminished with it). Gallente dualism is typically based around masculine and feminine entities or beliefs, while animism tends to be founded on nature-based practices. Monotheism emerged as the least prominent of the four largest categories, as it was perceived as too restricting for an adherent of a religion to be expected to follow a deity they may have struggled to agree with on an individual basis.
Universalism and other trends
A fifth, but far from final, category is universalism. This is very popular amongst ethnic Gallente for its inclusive nature. It sees all religions and beliefs as equally valid in their approach to find the ‘truth’, and is widely perceived as fitting in with the Federation’s beliefs of tolerance and cultural diversity, even with non-religious believers. It is estimated that a slight majority of Gallente are religious in some form or another, but this tends to be a light belief in some spiritual entity or force. These Gallente would not be accounted for as religious practitioners in the traditional sense, and would only bring the topic up when specifically asked. Historic difficulties in census-taking, however, makes these estimations unreliable.
Other practices vary from planet to planet, including religions of local populations or imported from elsewhere (and likely adapted over time). The majority of these are not recorded, though the more persistent ones are. At the lowest level, including very rural and undeveloped areas, these are causes for religious conflict and sectarian violence, something the Federation is quick to keep a lid on. At the highest level, such as in space, new creeds can appear and disappear regularly, usually incorporating elements of previously existing religions or philosophies and combining them in new ways.
Secular cynics are often dismissive of these new religions, seeing them as run by opportunists who wish to exploit innocent spiritual seekers. While this is certainly not unheard of, it is nonetheless true that in a considerable number of cases, these religions are insitituted and run by people who genuinely believe they have found "the truth". Though many and varied, these types of religions share some characteristics, mostly that they are neither very strict nor formal, as a general rule focusing more on the individual and their happiness rather than rules or dogmas that serve the institution.
The Gallente language (simply called Gallente) is one of the official languages of the Federation. It is, by far, the most commonly used in government channels, particularly in space, though it is not used in territories with a majority of speakers of another primary language.
Gallente has its origins in the language of the Kingdom of Central Garoun, known as Garouni. When the homeworld was globalized, Garouni developed as the lingua franca of Gallente Prime, becoming the official language of the International Space Cooperative, the Organization for Foreign Planetary Development, and later the Federation itself (by which point, it was known as Gallente).
Even if the main languages of the other major signatories were recognized as official, Gallente was the most commonly used due to their early domination in the Senate, as well as their homeworld's original monopoly on the entertainment industry. The pre-Federation Gallente nations on both the homeworld and other planets retained their languages domestically.
Gallente has proven the most adaptable and changeable than any other primary language in New Eden, as a necessary requirement for it to become as widespread amongst as many different peoples as possible. It has incorporated elements of other major tongues for the purposes of simplicity, and has effectively become a hybrid language over the centuries. Many Gallente linguists ensure that the language is not too simplified, as they feel it is necessary to retain the cultural flair of the language in order to demonstrate its uniqueness (and thus superiority) to other peoples and languages.
Early attempts to homogenize language in the Federation by the early, more colonialist administrations ultimately failed, and the government has long capitulated on the issue. Those who can speak or understand the interstellar dialect of Gallente are in the minority (around 20%-40% of the Federation's population). Attempts to teach the language within planetary educational curriculums are mostly half-hearted and very lax, as there is little need to speak Gallente in these communities.
Counting both native and non-native speakers, interstellar Gallente is the second largest language in all of New Eden by a very large margin after Amarr, thanks to the Federation's massive entertainment industry, as well as their extensive diplomatic and economic influence. It is the most common second language in New Eden otherwise. There are more speakers of interstellar Gallente outside the Federation than inside it.
For a long time, Gallente has battled with Amarr as the second language in the Minmatar Republic since the end of the Minmatar Rebellion, originally touted to eventually exceed its competitor. The influx of ex-slaves into the Republic after Empress Jamyl I's emancipation order has thrown Amarr into a slight majority as the second most common language, at least for now.
Speakers of interstellar Gallente are found most commonly in space (such as on space stations), as it is the official language amongst starship captains and traffic controllers in the Federation. Interstellar government administrations and corporations also require this form of Gallente to be spoken, or any other organization that operates across multiple planets. Because of this, any citizen who wishes to make a living in a space, learning Gallente is almost compulsory. It is also the dominant language on GalNet and FTL channels, which goes a long way to spreading the amount of fluent speakers both inside and outside the Federation.
Most ethnic Gallente speak the dialect or language local to their place of birth. This includes the language spoken by immigrants from outside of the Federation (who may or may not have formed a majority in their respective territory), the language and dialects of the indigenous population they may have settled alongside as a minority, or the language of another Federation ethnic group.
Alternatively, ethnic Gallente may speak the language of their original home nation back on Gallente Prime, having evolved as an independent dialect over the centuries since colonization. As the Federation has countless more languages than any other nation, these Gallente will learn the common dialect to interact with one another over GalNet, FTL, or any other medium.
Major entertainment corporations that operate across planets and/or across empires (such as Impetus or Egonics Inc.) create products in the four main interstellar languages of the Federation. Internationally, however, these products always use Gallente, as a way to export the language far and wide. Domestic corporations will seek to cater to local languages and dialects, and also work on translating major Gallente language productions for sub-planetary markets.
One of the most important sociological questions in the Federation (if not all of New Eden, due to its unique instance) is what constitutes a Gallente, even an ethnic one. As far as the Federal government is concerned, any registered citizen of the nation is considered a Gallente, though most feel this is a rather simplistic approach for the purposes of bureaucratic ease.
Origins of the term
The original word came about to identify the ethnicities of Gallente Prime from those of the Caldari homeworld (by the captain of the first expedition, on her own accord), and then later the Intaki, Mannar, and other minor races. The word is thus one of nationality, and not necessarily ethnicity.
The disproportionate level of influence the Gallente homeworld had in early Federation politics meant that the individual nation-states and ethnicities were mostly overlooked. Over time, the Luminaire habit of cultural melting pots began to dominate the interstellar communities in the Federation, this style of social mixing being identified as Gallente in origin (for instance, the other races were not so open to interracial marriages and relationships as the Gallente were). After first contact, the Amarr Empire simply labelled all citizens of the Federation as Gallente, regardless of ethnicity.
The use of the ‘ethnic’ prefix is thus a relatively recent one, having come about in the past one to two hundred years. Though intermixing between the Gallente and other races in the Federation has been in practice for centuries, the shift in the meaning of the word ‘Gallente’ to not just refer to those from the Luminaire homeworld encouraged the use of the ‘ethnic’ prefix for differentiation.
It does not particularly make a difference to the contemporary Caldari or Amarr, who tend to look at the Federation as a homogeneous entity. The multi-ethnic Minmatar, however, are more acutely aware and appreciative of the similarly multi-ethnic Federation, especially the Gallente Prime homeworld, which never had one racial group dominate.
However, the question is not answered simply by using the ethnic identifier. It does not take into account the various ethnic groups of the Gallente Prime homeworld, where there are some who prefer their pre-Federation nationalities over the modern one. Moreover, the immigrant culture compounds the problem further.
As mentioned before, a citizen who identifies as ethnic Gallente may have one parent who does not descend from Luminaire, or is from outside the Federation altogether, while another individual who is not native to the empire at all may identify themselves as purely Gallente, particularly second generation immigrants and beyond. Within the world of employment, many candidates of minor bloodlines commonly identify as ethnic Gallente to make their application process much more simplified, as there is no cultural or legal ramifications for doing so.
In addition, the long history with the Caldari means that many ethnic Gallente may be able to trace some sort of Civire or Deteis lineage in their history. The same applies to Intaki and Mannar lineages, though less so with the Jin-Mei due to the relatively shorter time since first contact. With all of this in mind, it is often the case that the term ‘ethnic Gallente’ is used to identify a citizen who is not purely a descendant of any of the other major ethnicities in the Federation.
This freedom to self-identity on own’s one terms is constitutionally protected in the Federation, but critics both inside and outside the nation are not so enthusiastic about the idea. To them, the fact that anyone can call themselves Gallente or ethnic Gallente represents a very sinister method of cultural imperialism and assimilation, eradicating the identity of traditional cultures and peoples, simply labelling it with a term that originated from a single planet, and not one that was developed as a consensus between multiple ethnicities (such as Minmatar, for example).
In response, counter-arguments state that the term ‘Gallente’ can no longer be associated with the Luminaire homeworld, noting the vast immigrant population of Gallente Prime, and the resultant loss of some ancient and traditional practices. To these proponents, the word Gallente has become a universal term for any idea or practice associated with the Federation. That said, while Gallente Prime no longer has disproportionate political or legal influence, it still holds a place as a ‘cultural heart’ of the Federation, being the ultimate destination for many prospective migrants to the empire.
With the above in mind, it is very common for ethnic Gallente to identify by their local community or birthplace to others in the Federation, be it village, town, continent, planet, or system. This is particularly true on worlds that were colonized by multiple parties, requiring each group to differentiate themselves from one another. This is sometimes a source of competition, where the separate groups of colonists will attempt to outperform one another in establishing their new homes.
All in all, the fluid, open and changing definition of the term Gallente, even ethnic Gallente, has resulted in a never-ending debate amongst both supporters and opponents of the Federation, unique in the sense that mostly all other races in New Eden have a much more rigid definition of their ethnic terms.
Moreso than any other race in New Eden, the Gallente have a boundless appetite for colonizing new worlds and braving the frontier for no particular reason other than the natural compulsion to do so. They do not venerate their homeworld in the same way as other races do, and many see the ancestral birthplace as nothing more than a cradle to depart from.
In addition, the pursuit of one’s own destiny and vision has led many to find a new world and establish their own homesteads, building a new society without the flaws of the one they had left behind. Millions of these individuals have diverged so far from their original roots, that they are only Gallente by virtue of citizenship.
Beyond the frontier
It is for the above reason, then, that the ethnic Gallente’s zest for exploration and frontier colonization has not been limited to within Federation territory, and have sought to settle on worlds beyond the boundaries of empire space, faster than other peoples due to the fact space travel became much more common for the average Gallente citizen far earlier than elsewhere.
It is estimated that individuals of Gallente descent are the second-largest ethnic group in nullsec space after Minmatar, the former lacking any cultural grounding that would otherwise disallow or discourage them from migrating out of the nation. The other empires’ disinclination to allowing immigrants within their borders means that Gallente who wish to leave the Federation for truly unrestricted fortunes find themselves heading to the outer regions instead.
Mining communities are the most common type of Gallente settlements in nullsec space, by far, due to the cultural stock that particular occupation has to the Gallente. Most hope to strike it rich by establishing extraction colonies, either to sell back home in the Federation, or to cater to the various factions within the null-security frontier.
In other empires
There are plenty of ethnic Gallente individuals to be found in the other three empires of New Eden. There is a considerable number of expatriates within the State, mostly composed of Gallente who fill in occupations the Caldari generally do not bother themselves with (though are nonetheless somewhat necessary), such as chefs and entertainers. There are also plenty of wealthy and established businesspeople who seek greater riches within the ultracapitalistic corporate melee.
A number of State-born ethnic Gallente are accounted for as natural citizens as well, being the second largest racial minority after the Achura. Like with many non-Caldari in the State, they are often subject to discrimination and indirect persecution. Many met a fatal end at the hands of other citizens during Tibus Heth’s invasion of Luminaire in YC110, after invoking civil unrest once news of the violence had became widespread.
In the Minmatar Republic and Amarr Empire, the same pattern regarding the occupations of expatriates apply. Traders and wealthy executives are naturally common, with a high number of investment bankers and financiers in the Republic in particular. In both of these empires, there is a large number of charity and humanitarian aid workers for non-profit and/or non-governmental organizations who have taken up semi-permanent residence. These individuals tend to work for the benefit of slaves and ex-slaves. Some even decide to live alongside Holders to ensure humane practices are maintained. Full citizens of ethnic Gallente descent in either empire are virtually non-existent, due to cultural and institutional factors.
There is a number of ethnic Gallente slaves within the Khanid Kingdom, the Dark Amarr having their traditional sources of indentured services denied to them, forcing them to take anyone they can get. "Legal" Khanid slave raids into the Federation officially ended when the Kingdom joined CONCORD Illegal raids by independent slavers still continued after this, mostly unabated despite pressures from both the Federation and CONCORD. These slaves are only ethnic Gallente by their genetic history, having been subject to a couple of generations worth of cultural indoctrination.