I have heard from my fellow NDN's that it is a great movie! I have read online (non Natives I think) that we are stereotyped, typical dances with wolves etc. Not surprising, non-Natives like to tell us when to be offended.
Now keep in mind this will be an unedited NDN view, so if it causes white guilt...deal.
We all thought the movie was great. Runner said it reminded him of the Greasy Grass (Whites call it the Little Big Horn, or Custer's Last Stand). I think that it says a lot that a 7 yr old saw that. My kids favorite parts were the scenes of the final battle. They liked "when all the white people went home in the end, except a few good ones" This is particularly funny because the same thing happens in Disneys Pocahontas (except then there is Pocahontas 2). Sunny Not laughed and said..."and did you notice they were all white?". Someone pointed out that the Woman who flies the helicopter is brown but she joined the NDN's...yep the kids keep referring to the as Omaticaya as the NDN's, and yes we refer to ourselves that way to (pc readers are just gonna have to deal with that too).
Another white hero?...Another white herp?; not quite. Jake Sully's Avatar is mixed white and Omaticaya; so I see it more like the scouts of old who were mixed bloods working for the army, he was just a futuristic version of a mixed blood, with a similar reaction, accepted by some, but not others.
Tree huggers? yep, but this is interesting. The deity is only referred to as a deity by the humans, not the Omaticaya . The Omaticaya talk of Mother, connection and ancestors and they also do not worship or pray in a typical christian fashion. This is interesting cuz we do not worship a god or many gods (like some think). We honour creation, spirits, ancestors and we believe in a circle of life etc. The Na'vi see life as energy you borrow and return. Only Jake prays and he is told that the Mother does not take sides. I have to say I was shocked that James Cameron got their spirituality so close to our sense of spirituality. Our concept of spirituality without worship is difficult for many to grasp as it is so not what they have grown up with. It is not the same as our spirituality being a movie and all (and the tree thing unfortunately reminded me briefly of Pocahontas), but the style is similar. This was not something he read in a book because if you read books about our spirituality you will read a lot of BS.
Savages? Damn this one made me angry. It made me more angry after seeing the movie. I think the only people who would see the Omaticaya as savages are the same types that are currently taking Native land to mine for Uranium and other similar manifest destiny ideals, and of course our very own hang around the fort NDN's. These are the types that all wish we would assimilate, love money and just shut up already. I personally thought the army were the savages in this movie...matter of perspective I guess. I am sure there are those who didn't see either side as savage. So here are the two sides as I see it:
Omaticaya are seen (by some people) as savages cuz they:
- are half naked
- use bows and arrows
- don't go to school
- don't live in structured housing
- believe in a nature based spirituality
correct me if I am wrong but there are people who still live this way...
are such people calling them savage too?
are such people calling them savage too?
Army is seen as savage (by people like me) cuz:
- they murder without conscience
- destroy for profit
- to narrow minded and ethnocentric to see another point of view
- will blow up a village with babies, and children in it.
Go see the movie, enjoy it, cry with the Omaticaya (I sure did). Cheer when the army loses. And take away one really important lesson, this is not just a movie about past events, but also currant events. Make sure it doesn't become about future events...and (political statement)unless Canada, The United States, Australia and New Zealand all sign the UN's declaration of Indigenous rights,it will continue to be about our future. And (educational moment) watch it with your kids. Use it as an opportunity to discuss the world wide issue of colonialism, Native issues and mining issues. Not sure about mining issues? che k out my following links.