January 18, 2010

Mohawk envisions Avatar sequel

Doug George-Kanentiio:  A Mohawk's review of 'Avatar'It is a familiar story to Natives of this hemisphere: from the presence of aboriginal female clan leaders to the respect for all organisms. We know what will happen when the humans arrive. After initial contact comes the recorders, those who will learn the language, study the people, analyze the society and send their reports to distant authorities who will then use that information to infiltrate, factionalize and disrupt the indigenous people, to get them ready for the coming invasion. A strong military force inevitably follows the recorders who bring with them not only munitions but disease and violence. They introduce new technologies the foster a dependence upon them. They enforce directives from the company including the imposition of formal education, organized religion and "tribal councils" in which the native communal values are replaced with capitalist ones. In the end, the goal is to have Na'vi fight Na'vi after they have been decimated by plagues and confused by religion. The plan is to have the Na'vi themselves operate the machines to extract the minerals with Na'vi soldiers securing the designated sacrifice regions and corrupt Na'vi sharing the wealth.

This is what we, as Natives, know will happen to the Na'vi. They may have been successful in routing the humans but we know the Earthlings will be back with a massive army prepared to use any means to secure the mining of unobtainium. The army will be trailed by the social scientists, the teachers, the religious cadre all of whom will feel an obligation to save the Na'vi from themselves, for the greater glory of God and for profit, whatever form it may take.

This is what we expect James Cameron will address in the sequel to Avatar and that is why we cringe when we see the movie.
Comment:  George-Kanentiio has combined what happened in Avatar--initial contact, recorders, military force--with what he thinks will happen in the sequel.

Since the Na'vi are (or should be) immune to human disease and since they defeated the humans, the sequel won't be exactly as George-Kanentiio describes. I'll go out on a limb and predict it'll be totally different.

I suspect it won't include another human invasion, or humans at all. Rather, Jake and Neytiri will be rebuilding their clan's society when a Pandoran threat arises. For instance, the red-skinned dog people will attack the blue-skinned cat people. They'll capture Neytiri and Jake will have to go on a quest to save her. Or Jake and Neytiri will have to journey together to find a sacred doohickey to protect them from the enemy. The movie will end with Neytiri revealing she's pregnant with Jake's baby--because James Cameron seems to like predictable stories.

For more on the subject, see Army vs. Indians in Avatar and Evoking Natives in Avatar.

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