Mike dropped a rather unexpected bomb in the comments of this blog post, about the steps that go into writing an episode of "The Legend of Korra":
I wasn't sure where to post this information, so I decided on a whim to blog about it. Here is the quote:
"Yes, the Bhanti is the name of that tribe [that rescued Korra after she got amnesia]. Sometimes we come up with backstories for characters that don’t always get spelled out in the final scripts. If the exposition isn’t vital to understanding what’s going on, it usually gets trimmed."
If you read the part that mentions them, what it says is that, in the original draft of the episode, the Bhanti were a tribe dating back to the origin of the Avatar. They went on to become the Sages in the various nations.
So, basically, Mike said that the name is canon, & heavily implied that the basic backstory is, as well. Other quotes reveal that:
"And the old sage was intended to be blind, but if I remember correctly, when the animation came back she was looking around a lot. Rather than fix the animation, we kept it as is, since her being blind or not didn’t affect the story at all."
"That is the Bhanti tribe, but no we don’t see them again."
My blog for Part 2 ("Writing the Outline"): http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Neo_Bahamut/Beginnings_News_2:_Lion_Turtles,_Reincarnation,_%26_More!
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