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Within the BattleTech universe, they are counted among the most prominent unresolved mysteries; out-of-universe, they have been confirmed to have been a remnant of Clan Wolverine who escaped annihilation. Their ultimate fate remains unknown.
Appearance of the Minnesota Tribe
In 2825, a strange but highly skilled unit using SLDF tactics, painted in regular army colors and bearing the insignia of the North American state of Minnesota (associated with the SLDF's 331st Royal BattleMech Division, a unit that had joined Aleksandr Kerensky's Operation Exodus), attacked four Draconis Combine worlds, stole resources, and left.
They next attacked Trondheim, where the 20th Rasalhague Regulars were stationed. They defeated the regular unit, again refusing communication, even to the extreme of individual MechWarriors committing suicide before they could be captured. This scared Coordinator Jinjiro Kurita, because he believed that they could be an advance unit for the return of Kerensky's troops, so he shifted forces to the Periphery borders of both his Pesht and Rasalhague Military Districts. This possibility also caused trepidation for Primus of ComStar Conrad Toyama, who feared ComStar's desired role as technological savior of the Inner Sphere would be undone. Toyama thus ordered ROM to shadow and attempt to discover the origins of the unknown unit. Led by Precentor Emilio Travis and equipped with a small quantity of 'Mechs and Aerospace Fighters from the Blessed Order's SLDF stockpiles as a precaution, ROM dispatched a fleet of JumpShips to search for any trace of the unit or its likely direction of travel.
The Tribe made its last attack against Richmond. Here they freed a large number of political prisoners, though it is unclear whether they knew about the jail that housed the prisoners before they freed them. The Tribe loaded the freed prisoners up in their DropShips and left, never making their presence known in the Inner Sphere again.
ComStar continued to track the Tribe as it traveled through the periphery towards the Federated Suns, but ultimately lost the trail near Valentina. While Primus Toyama relaxed after they disappeared, Jinjiro Kurita was forced to step up his preparations for what would become the Second Succession War in an attempt to tighten control of his population, as the belief the Tribe were the forerunners of the returning SLDF began to spread through the civilian population of the Combine.
Evidence and leads
Though not realized until centuries later in the wake of the Clan Invasion, based on their use of combat tactics and equipment similar to the SLDF and coincidental timing of the Tribe's appearance in the very year of Clan Wolverine's Trial of Annihilation, many would openly suspect that the Minnesota Tribe were the unaccounted survivors of the Wolverines who escaped the Clan Homeworlds. The case was only reinforced after ComStar's public unveiling of much of its history in the wake of the Schism with the publication of a curious report penned by Emilio Travis on the clothing worn by a Minnesota Tribe MechWarrior killed in the fighting on Richmond. Piloting a pristine Lancelot, the warrior was clad in a more advanced version of the SLDF's full body coolant suits which displayed two patches, the Minnesota tribe's insignia with the numbers "331" stitched on it, appearing to be a revised version of the insignia of the 331st Royal BattleMech Division, and the other of a white Terran Wolverine with bloodied fangs.
When the Explorer Corps had found and superficially surveyed Barbados in 3041 they noted a 63% match of the dead MechWarrior's tattoo with an unknown crest found on an ancient wrecked 'Mech on Barbados—according to its description, this was the Clan Wolverine crest.
In 3095, explorers working with Interstellar Explorations discovered a large, partly underground base on an otherwise uninhabited unnamed world 22.7 lightyears coreward from McEvedy's Folly. They retrieved substantial amounts of equipment and data from the abanonded facility, including what was referred to as the "Rosetta Stone" datapad of the Minnesota Tribe. However, a sleeper agent from within the team alerted the Word of Blake who sought to keep the world's secret at all costs. On 15 June 3095 a massive strike force destroyed the team's DropShips, attacked the dig site in what appeared to be carpet bombing or a nuclear weapon. It is implied that all evidence was destroyed and the entire research team killed before they could inform anyone else of the find.
Speculation about the Tribe's Fate
- Alien Protector Theory - A post-Clan Invasion mutation of a Succession War theory originally posited about the fate of the entire Exodus Fleet, some hold the belief the Minnesota Tribe are holding off an onslaught of alien marauders, protecting both the Inner Sphere and Clans.
- Kilisaka Theory - Part of a academic roundtable at the Pesht University of Military Science discussing theories as to what was occurring on the Clan Homeworlds during the Word of Blake Jihad, retired DCMS Tai-i Robert Kilisaka put forward the theory based soley around past excavations of that the Homeworld Clans were under attack by a resurgent and hyper-advanced Clan "Wolverine". Kilisaka's theory was largerly driven by his hatred of Clan Nova Cat elements within the Combine's borders, advocating their elimination to avoid earning the ire of the Tribe's descendants, totally unaware of the real reason of the Homeworlds silence.
- ComStar Hoax - Among the various pieces of information recovered from the secret journal of secular ComStar Precentor ROM Victoria Parrdeau secured by Chandrasekhar Kurita during the later half of the Jihad was the claim the whole "Minnesota Tribe" incident was staged by militant elements of ROM within ComStar, pulling the wool over the eyes of both Jinjiro Kurita and Conrad Toyama. Parrdeau was apparently highly amused that Interstellar Expeditions was spending such time and money researching the hoax.
- The Tanites - A claim apparently forthcoming from Ivan Lier, a supposed former Loki member, was the claim that Minnesota Tribe/Wolverines made a complete circuit of the Inner Sphere, eventually settling on a former Rim Worlds Republic industrial system erased from the maps, before heading back to settle on the Tanite Worlds, using them as a base from which to destroy the Clan way of life from within.
- Deep Periphery Raiders - A StarCorps Industries review of the Deep Periphery states in the second half of the Jihad discussed the Hanseatic League and the Umayyad Caliphate increasingly encountering unknown forces, including the belief of some that were remnants of the Minnesota Tribe.
- Wolf's Dragoons - Rumors in 3008 suggested that Wolf's Dragoons were a part of the Minnesota Tribe, acting as a reconnaissance force for the Tribe. (The Clan Invasion revealed that they were indeed a recon force, but for the Clans.)
- Clan Recon Mission - A theory Inner Sphere analysts came up with to explain the equally mysterious origins of the Clan Nova Cat developed Jenner IIC, with the original Jenner only just introduced as the Exodus Fleet fled the Inner Sphere, was that Tribe was Clan recon mission with Nova Cat warriors among their number capturing some of Combine 'Mech for study and spawning the IIC remake.
The Uncle Chandy Document - The Blood
During the Word of Blake Jihad, Chandrasekhar Kurita — "Uncle Chandy" — would uncover a series of unconfirmed documents of questionable provenance that apparently revealed the fate of the Wolverines. Indicating the survivors who fled Clan-space—supposedly almost a fifth of the Clan's personnel—indeed reached the Inner Sphere as the so-called "Minnesota Tribe", the document claims that in June 2826 ComStar, rather than losing the trail, met and offered the Wolverines refuge. Upon reaching Terra and settling on Mars, while many of the Wolverines were content to merely rest, scientist and leader of the exiled Clan's civilian population Peter Marillier forged a plan that would transform the Wolverines into a secret faction within ComStar — the so-called Blood — that would first aid then co-opt the organization from within, directing it to ultimate dominion over both the Inner Sphere and Clans.
Despite a lack of any solid proof and large question marks as to its providence, Chandrasekhar Kurita and Devlin Stone would pass this document to Clan Ghost Bear in 3074, taking the Bears by complete surprise. While previously staying aloof from the maelstrom of the Jihad, the apparent revelation that their most sworn enemy were the driving force behind the Word of Blake prompted them to plunge full-force into the conflict. Despite Ghost Bear scientists genetically testing the remains of every Blakist defeated to try and authenticate the report, no conclusive evidence was ever found linking the Word of Blake to Clan Wolverine.
In 2974, several groups of archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists merged to form Interstellar Expeditions. Ostensibly created to research and advance knowledge of humanity's past, one of its primary, non-public missions would be to learn everything possible about the so-called "Minnesota Tribe." As late as 3045, IE was making "Grand Tours" every ten years, retracing the Minnesota Tribe's known path through the Inner Sphere, visiting the same worlds and sites. Over the years, IE has collected a great number of Minnesota Tribe artifacts, including patches, uniforms, personal equipment, even tissue samples and one corpse. No Clansman is aware of this cache, though IE has made some contacts in Clan space during several Babylon Diets. IE is almost certain that the Minnesota Tribe is in fact the Not-Named Clan — Clan Wolverine.
The Minnesota Tribe have long been suspected to be remnants of Clan Wolverine following that Clan's purge, but this connection remains unproven within the BattleTech universe.
However, out-of-universe, the connection to Clan Wolverine has been established through the novel Betrayal of Ideals and statements from then-Line Developer Randall N. Bills confirming that the novel contains information about the Minnesota Tribe, marking as fact what is only presented as hints and evidence in the novel. Ray Arrastia, Bills's successor as Line Developer, later expressly confirmed in a posting on the BattleTech Forum that the Minnesota Tribe were in fact Clan Wolverine survivors.
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 64 "History - Second Succession War - The Minnesota Tribe and the Chahar Profit"
- The Star League, p. 98 "History - Aftermath"
- ComStar, p. 22 "History - A New Order - The Word of Blake"
- Field Manual: ComStar, pp. 11-12 "The Com Guards - History - Eye of the Storm"
- The Clans: Warriors of Kerensky, pp. 13-14 "The Secret History of the Clans - Wolverine Treachery"
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 21 "History of the Clans - Birth of the Clan - Clan Wolverine"
- ComStar, p. 23 "Who Were Those Masked Men?"
- Betrayal of Ideals epilogue (2016 edition; this epilogue was added later and was not in the initial BattleCorps edition)
- Interstellar Players, p. 11 "The Darkness of Light"
- The Blake Documents, pp. 65-68 "Around the Sphere - The Clans - Homeworld: Theories"
- The Blake Documents, p. 115 "Through the Looking Glass"
- Interstellar Players 2, p. "Minor Players - The Tanites"
- Masters & Minions", p. 227 "Minor Powers - Deeper Secrets"
- Wolf's Dragoons (sourcebook), p. 13
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 108 "Clan “Phoenix” BattleMechs - Jenner IIC-4"
- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, p. 121 "The Not-Named"
- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents, pp. 129-134 "The Not-Named"
- The Wars of Reaving, pp. 173-174 "Founder's Future - Clan Ghost Bear"
- Interstellar Players, p. 38 "Interstellar Expeditions - Operations - Goals and Fundamental Assumptions"
- Interstellar Players, p. 46-47 "Interstellar Expeditions - Gamemaster's Section - Known Facts - Minnesota Tribe"
- BattleTech Q&A] by Harebrained Schemes at Hyper RPG (12 October 2016), at 31:53
- In this posting (as "Adrian Gideon", dated 21 July 2017) on the official BattleTech Forum: "That mystery was resolved: Minnesota Tribe was Clan Wolverine."
- Betrayal of Ideals
- Field Manual: ComStar
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine)
- Interstellar Players 3: Interstellar Expeditions
- Interstellar Players
- Jihad Conspiracies: Interstellar Players 2
- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents
- Masters and Minions: The StarCorps Dossiers
- Shades and Spirits (in: Interstellar Players 3: Interstellar Expeditions)
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade
- The Clans: Warriors of Kerensky
- The Star League
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook
- Wolf's Dragoons (sourcebook)