The Eyani are self-aware tool-users, but as their world is poor in minerals, they are little past the Stone Age in technology. Despite this, they have over a thousand years of written history and even crude maps. The Eyani are the first intelligent alien life forms encountered.
Eyani society is tribal and patriarchal, for all practical purposes monarchist, but rarely imperialist. Sexual equality among the Eyani is a rapidly-spreading concept, as many Eyani females fought beside males against the Empire, and many of the Republic's representatives on Eyan are women. The Republic's style of representative democracy and constitutionalism is generating somewhat less interest, though it is hoped that this will increase.
The Eyani written language is quite simple, using a twenty-four letter alphabet. This and their octal counting system are obviously derived from their having four digits on each hand, foot, and "fand," as the appendages of the mid-limbs are called by Humans. Eyani physical strength is somewhat greater than might be expected for a creature of that size, and some parallels have been drawn to Terran primates in that regard. Average Eyani lifespan is roughly sixty Terran years, though this is expected to increase as agricultural and medical technology become more widely available to them and their standard of living rises.
Eyani Tribes resemble, in some respects, Human "races," though the physiological differences are greater. Tribes of specific regions, i.e. plains, hills, coastal or arctic areas, etc., are significantly specialized to operate in those environments. For example, plains Tribes are better suited to walking or running longer distances between rest periods, and their fur color tends to match the brown-gold hues of the grass they travel through, as with Terran plains species like the African lion. Likewise, arctic Tribes have extra layers of fat, and white fur that is highly adapted to preserving body heat, much like Terran polar bears. Tribes that dwell near water are adapted as swimmers, taking on some of the characteristics of Terran otters, beavers, or even seals. The least-specialized Tribes are the hill dwellers, with mottled fur of various shades and a more versatile physiology.
It should be made quite clear, however, that intelligence levels remain constant between the differing Tribes, and that mating between the Tribes is not unheard of, often being done in order to form alliances. The offspring of such unions frequently enjoy the adaptations of both parents, yet are rarely sterile as are similar Terran cross-breeds like mules and ligers, a discovery that fascinates Republic biologists.
The differing characteristics of the four major types of Eyani - Plains, Hills, Sea, and Arctic - are symbolized in the flag of the emerging Eyani Nation, which combines the white of the arctic, the gold of plains grasses, the green of the hills, and the blue of the sea, bound together by the red of the blood spilled opposing the Imperial invasion of Eyan.
The Eyani were ruthlessly employed as slave labor by the Empire for over forty years, through the end of the War, and many atrocities were committed against them, the most infamous being the taking of their beautiful pelts for Imperial ladies' clothing. The planet is now under the protection of the Republic while its people are studied.
Eyani have been proven to possess Human-equivalent intelligence, and some Citizens have already suggested admitting Eyani as Subjects. Others have argued that such interference in Eyani development could be disastrous, but it could hardly be more so than what they have already suffered at the hands of the Empire. Some have called for allowing the Eyani to determine their own destiny, and while the suggestion itself has earned near-unanimous support, there is considerable and heated debate as to how this would be done. Dr. Hannah Ehrling, formerly of the Space Patrol Medical Corps, has created the Foundation for Eyani Independence in cooperation with members of the Eyani de facto ruling family, and is working toward establishing Eyani independence.