April 26th, 2010
I just saw Avatar last Friday night. I knew that there was a Native American theme to the movie, but I was overwhelmed and moved by the “real history” portrayed in the “movie story.” The history of European exploitation and domination of the Indigneous Peoples of the world is plain for anyone to study and is well depicted in Avatar.
The true story as told in most histories, though, is mostly covered up by “spin” and “legal” principles like the Doctrine of Discovery that allegedly justified European countries and colonists acquiring the vast majority of the lands and assets of Indigenous Peoples in Asia, African,and the Americas.
James Cameron, the director and writer of Avatar, is participating with groups that want to teach the true and full history of this property transfer, and to remedy the results where possible, and to protect the remaining lands and assets that Indigenous Peoples still possess.
Check out this article posted today: ‘AVATAR’ ACTIVISM: James Cameron Joins Indigenous Struggles Worldwide
It says in part: “Blockbuster Hollywood director James Cameron said that he is committed to helping indigenous peoples around the world who, like the fictitious Na’vi in his film Avatar, are “caught at the tectonic interface between the expansion of our technical civilization into the few remaining preserves of this planet.”
. . . Cameron was invited to speak at two events on April 24 that were associated with the Ninth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues taking place in New York City from April 19-30.
James Cameron join[ed] the panel discussion, “Real Life ‘Pandoras’ on Earth: Indigenous Peoples Urgent Struggles For Survival,” . . . Cameron said in his introduction to a special evening screening of Avatar . . . “I applaud what you [at the forum] are doing. It is so critical given how many indigenous cultures are under threat throughout the world.”
Cameron said that he has been astonished by the response to the film and said that many indigenous communities and environmental organizations have contacted him seeking his help and support.
. . . While he said that he had never worked with indigenous people before in his life, he says he is now very committed to helping illuminate these struggles worldwide. “I never really dreamed that a Hollywood film could have that significant of an impact,” Cameron said on panel discussion earlier in the afternoon, “Not only is this is an opportunity, it is a duty. I do have a responsibility now to go beyond the film, because it doesn’t teach, and to become an advocate myself and use what media power I have to raise awareness.”
. . . Cameron recently took up this duty by joining Amazon Watch on a tour in Brazil learn more about the standoff to stop the Bela Monte hydrological dam complex, which would dam the Xingu River and displace some 25,000 local indigenous people and flood a large swath of the rainforest, which would release methane, the most potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere as the trees decay. . . .”