Skip navigation

Viewed the AVATAR December 29, 09 at the local theatre for $10.00 Canadian dollars. I liked the animated effects a lot, but not the story line of the film, written and directed by James Cameron. The film review When Will White Men Stop Making Movies like Avatar points out, “whites need to stop remaking the white guilt story, which is a sneaky way of turning every story about people of color into a story about being white. Speaking as a white person, I don’t need to hear more about my own racial experience. I’d like to watch some movies about people of color (ahem, aliens), from the perspective of that group, without injecting a random white (erm, human) character to explain everything to me. (1)”

These are surprising comments because I rarely hear white people express so open a point-of-view. Few people get it; also, at the same time say it. I am use to conservative commentaries or the dah factor, people who do not get it. The plot story line generally is similar to the DANCES WITH WOLVES film, how a white guy because he likes the indigenous people, in this example, the Na’vi people, decides to save them and does. Whoop de doo! Do we need another white character to save us?

The only redeeming quality of DANCES WITH WOLVES is that it featured all Native American and First Nation actors in lead roles, but the story was stereotyped. How many times will Indigenous people play the frozen image of Plains culture and regalia from the late 1800s as in many Hollywood westerns; for example, Winchester ’73 made in 1950. Hey! Indigenous people from North America are CONTEMPORARY as the rest of world! DANCES WITH WOLVES represented a vehicle for the producer, Kevin Costner, which put him on the map as a feature film maker.

As the essay pointed out, Jake Sully has choices. Jake can be either or: a white guy or be apart of the Na’vi people where as the Na’vi people do not have a choice. Indigenous people for example, were born with the way they look, the language they speak or the culture they grew up in; also, Indigenous peoples were the first peoples who lived in North America before any peoples travelled over. No one discovered us. Indigenous people in the U.S. have lots of histories; for example, ever since the colonists planted themselves at Jamestown with their superior/ulterior motives to cash in on the natural commodities of tobacco where First Americans-Tsenacomoco and others lived, Native Americans have had to stand up and fight a repressed control freak colonial mentality forever it seems passed from generation to generation, thickened within white North America because the U.S. thinks they own us. This is an illustration of A SINGLE ISSUE. AT PRESENT TIME, there are MANY issues the mainstream press does not cover or that editors censor out such as the events about what really goes on between Homeland Security and the Tohono O’odham who live on the US Arizona/Mexican border, which the general public is unaware. Why is it not covered? It is just another way to manipulate information unscrupulously about Native Americans by not informing the public.

It is so easy for Sully to just vacate if he decided not to help out anymore. Of course, First Nations and Native Americans need help from non Native people who empathize with their issues or causes, but to have to rehash this same ole story again in a mainstream film is unconvincing. Tell it like it is. This is a call out: Indigenous peoples create and use the animation techniques presented within AVATAR; also, write/make the drama/comedy, docu dramas and others to portray experiences to change and turn around stories such as Avatar; however, Indigenous independent cinema and video makers have created cinema/videos since the 70’s. When will change happen among ourselves and the rest of the public?? How to change? Own and run a cable network, but how long will that take? Hierarchies exist among Indigenous filmmakers. Therefore, to share information rather than to compete and isolate with each other. There’s just no giving up at this point for Indigenous people and filmmakers to change the media. So far at present the internet is an answer.

1. Annalee Newitz, “When Will White Men Stop Making Movies like Avatar,”;;, December 2009.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: