Native to the northern wastes, the original ethnic Ashlanders have long inhabited the northern reaches of Natum. Spurred on by rapid social and political change as they viewed themselves as increasingly encroached upon, the Ashlanders in a single night slew the vast majority of their tribal chieftains and shamans in a single night now carved into the collective memory of the north as Pingu. Establishing the modern Ashland identity as it's recognized across Natum.
Staunchly cooperative anarchists, they represent a curious outcome of human social organization. No longer simply a small and local concern, playing and being played by regional powers to maintain independence, they've managed to rapidly evolve as a society from stone age tribals to the technological and political frontier of Natum. Conducting trade and diplomacy across the entirety of Natum without any of the contraptions or entrapments of government, private property, or relative hierarchy.
The primary means of social organization in the Ashlands, Conspiracism is a blunt philosophy. Centered around the notion that the various bureaus, chiefs, kings, merchants, and other powers of Natum conspire for and amongst themselves, Conspiracism holds that the masses ought conspire in turn. The Ashland Conspiracy as the nation is often referred to, is simply the conspiracy of Ashlanders rather than any sort of state in the conventional sense.
Originally a sitting council of speakers at Kumaq for the various bands and settlements comprising the Ashlanders, the movement has evolved towards decentralization. Affairs are settled by individuals in free association to come to mutual consensus involving the fewest people possible, while international decisions are debated within the general populace until a general consensus can be achieved, with the notion of another council of speakers being reserved as a "nuclear option" following the debacle surrounding the Winter War.
One curious effect of this is that though themselves not a state and both anti-state and anti-authority, the Ashlanders have proven at least tolerant if not friendly to some states and authorities where their interests intersect. Though they eagerly await when the people of Natum rise up and destroy their governments and borders so they may live free and equal, the conspiracy must continue to advance and advocate the Ashlanders' capacity to exist on their own terms and recognize the realities of the world they live in, utilizing them as best able.