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43

There are degrees. Disclaimer: I'm (mixed) Apache and Cherokee (which are very different cultures even by stereotype standards). Research is always good Archeologically confirmed structures and living conditions are not at all offensive, anymore than me creating "pasty-faces" who live in buildings with thatched roofs and wattle and daub walls. Do some ...


39

Ask Them, Not the Internet There is an easy way to avoid doing this. Talk directly to the groups you're concerned about insulting. Explain what you're doing, and explain that you wanted to make sure you didn't accidentally offend them. For example, the Navajo Nation's official homepage would be a good place to start looking for a point of contact. As ...


12

One approach is to look at shoes used by people with upper-limb amputations or who were born with missing upper limbs. While your characters are not human and may or may not have partial or full use of hands, the basic premise is the same: how to keep your feet clean so you can use them for hand-like tasks. Diamond Excell was born with no arms and uses her ...


12

Have an Author's Note At the end of the book have a page or so like: The Sakha are based on several real-life cultures. First and foremost the Puebloans, from whom I copied.... The custom of [X] I got from the [other] people, and [Y] is completely my own invention. [Z] is an actual custom, described in [scholarly source] that I couldn't resist ...


9

Research, and do your best. If you can't, as Dayton suggested, actually contact the culture, do as much research as you can. People tend to be inherently understanding, and even though honest mistakes happen, as long as the majority of your work is 'correct' (so to speak) you'll avoid offending the majority of people. In the end, imagine yourself on the ...


9

Any glove-like shoe will also work. There is a significant number of shoes in human history that didn't have a separate rigid sole, but were wholly made of soft leather - native American mocassins, early medieval Germanic shoes, chuvaki of people of Near Asia and Caucasus. Such footwear works quite good, unless you need to walk on paved surfaces regularly. ...


8

There is only so much you can do if you want to extract many specific, "stereotypical" features from real cultures as set pieces in your work. Using less "real" material and knowing more about the source of your inspiration will be helpful. That's not the most charitable way of phrasing what you're looking to do, but it's correct in the essentials. There ...


8

Elevated clogs (geta) with toes hanging off the front. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geta_(footwear) In a therapod or bird like foot, the toe to sole ratio is much longer than in a human. We have short toes and lots of sole. Birds have long toes and small soles. Therapods would definitely use their toes to run, as an ostrich does. But this is polite ...


7

As Cyn already suggested, many names are related to the river it is close to. You can use the list below to sythesize your own names and then let them checked to avoid names that just sound slavic but does not make any sense in any slavic language. Something like "Your eyes September" ->(cz) Tvoje oči Září -> "Your eyes shine." The cities here got their ...


5

Make them different. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x72mkoi I was so impressed with Valley of the Dinosaurs, then and now. The cavemen would have been caricatures of movie amerinds - speaking in clipped "ug" English, dressing like movie amerinds; the whole deal. But: they were blond, with weird mustard complexions, these cavemen, and so not Indians. ...


4

I'm not 100% certain that you're asking the right question. If you watch a raven solving a puzzle, they tend to use their mouths for "hand-like" tasks, rather than their feet. Regardless, I should probably answer your original question... :-) I suggest a dynamic mechanism that opens and closes the shoe based on body position/foot height. The context in ...


4

Does the grasping surface of the foot need to be the same as the walking surface? What if they were on opposite sides of the foot? A foot physiology where the toes bend "upwards" has certain evolutionary advantages, since it would allow your characters to walk while holding items at the same time. To put it in more familiar terms, it would be somewhat like ...


4

This is to support the answer by idrougge: "geographic names in new settlements are usually quite uninventive." I live in Australia, which was settled mostly by people from Britain. Of course, in Australia there were already Aboriginal people, and quite a few place names derive from local Aboriginal languages (often as mis-heard by British settlers). I don't ...


4

If you look to the New World, geographic names in new settlements are usually quite uninventive. Apart from names inherited from the original inhabitants, the colonists tended to name their settlements the same thing as their place of origin (Paris, Texas), optionally adding "New" in front of it (New York, New Amsterdam, Nova Scotia), the same which also ...


3

I may suggest composing placenames using the most productive Slavic suffixes. There are a number of groups of such suffixes: -ov/-ova/-ovo/-ove/-ev... (Krakow, Kiev, Rostov being the live examples) -sk/-ska/-sko/-ske/-skoe/-skoye... (Hlinske, Smolensk, Polotsk) -ts/-tsy/-tsi/-tse... (Chernivtsi, Kamianets, Katowice in Polish spelling) -ka/-ki/-nia/-nik... (...


3

You're worried about offending real world cultures (or, more correctly, people belonging to those cultures). It's worth pointing out that most cases of cultural offense are rooted in the perception that the offender has got something wrong in terms of that culture. They're mis-attributing or misunderstanding something. Something has been used/borrowed/stolen ...


2

Would another option be (perhaps not for this story, but other worldbuilding) to not just hang a lampshade on it, but have that be part of the point? Like if I had post-apocalyptic humans spend a few centuries in the Midwest or wherever, and now life is better, they're back to having more leisure time and thinking beyond survival into creating a better ...


1

Maybe the answer is in your very question. Their feet are always dirty. And, since they are bird-like, they might consider sheathing their talons to be a bad thing. So when they need to do something where they need their feet clean, maybe they wipe off their feet using a cloth they keep for just such occasions and grab tools appropriate to the task. ...


1

Just a fun idea, but have you thought about wheelies? I'm not sure about what sort of era that you are going for, but you could have a wheel+stopper combination. Something that looks like a fingerless glove, but for the feet and it goes up and get's slightly bulky on one side of the ankle. Have the wheel be able to pop out from the ankle and slide under the ...


1

When a witch joins a coven, a link is created between the master of the coven, and the witch. This link allows power to be transferred between the two individuals, though always under the masters control. So usually the master takes whatever they need for their magic, and only grants "boons" to their servants if they ask nicely and provide a very, very good ...


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