The basic institution of Hiver society is the nest; it is roughly equivalent to the family or the tribe in human society.
The nest serves two purposes in Hiver society: it is a place for the education and care of the young, and it gives each Hiver an established place and purpose in the social structure. All nests have a nest goal: a statement of purpose for the nest members. For some, the nest goal is an elaborate statement, while other nests may decide they exist simply to care for the young and support their members. There are even nests for those Hivers who want to be independent and alone.
The nest is headed by a Nest leader — one individual who makes routine decisions and assignments, and who keeps the nest's records. Where the rare dispute over the leader's decision occurs, the nest as a whole reconsiders the decision and affirms or changes it.