James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water is in theatres, and has already grossed $300 million internationally. Now, director James Cameron is facing allegations for Native American and Indigenous cultural appropriation and a campaign is urging viewers to boycott the sci-fi film. (Also read: Avatar The Way of Water box office day 3 collection: Film zooms past ₹100 crore in India, $435 million worldwide)
Like the 2009 film Avatar, the sequel primarily follows on with the story about colonisers taking over land and their resources from tribes. In the sequel, the colonisers are shown to be humans who require a completely inhabitable planet because Earth’s resources are becoming more or less depleted. The filmmaker has been accused of appropriating the cultures and histories of various Indigenous cultures for the benefit of making a film that features a largely white cast.
Yuè Begay, a Native American influencer and co-chair of Indigenous Pride LA tweeted, “Join Natives and other Indigenous groups around the world in boycotting this horrible and racist film.” She also added, “Our cultures were appropriated in a harmful manner to satisfy some [white flag emoji] man’s savior complex.” The tweet has been liked by more than 40,000 users. In the same post, Begay also brought to attention a 2010 interview that director James Cameron gave to a portal where the Oscar-winning filmmaker told that he had spent a lot of his time with the Amazon tribes in order to learn about the history of Indigenous people in North America, which he termed as a “dead-end society.”
Another remark against Avatar was pointed by Autumn Asher BlackDeer, an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. She posted on Twitter, “Why watch a ridiculous movie about blue aliens when you could just support actual Indigenous people and our struggle for clean water here on Earth? Yes, we do exist.” James Cameron had earlier clarified that his film is a fictional retelling of the history of North and South America in the early Colonial period. Brett Chapman, a Native American civil rights attorney, also called out Avatar in a tweet adding that the film is “a White savior story at its core and James Cameron said the Lakota should have “fought harder” with the foresight that their descendants would all be suicidal. I won’t be seeing the new one. It does nothing for Native Americans but suck oxygen for itself at our expense.”
Avatar: The Way of Water brings back Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver from the first film while also adding Kate Winslet this time around. With 52,000 screens across the globe, it is the widest release ever in cinema history.
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