January 07, 2010

No Natives in FernGully

Correspondent DMarks writes:Here's a movie that might be relevant as a Native-topic...due to missing Natives.It's kind of obscure and forgotten, but it gets remembered now thanks to James Cameron's Avatar.

I don't think it ever mentions where the rain forest is. There are several, but in pop culture, "save the rain forest" always refers to the Amazon.

So, what have we here? A rain forest peopled by primitive natives. But no Amahuaca, no Huaorani, no Yanomami....In fact, they aren't Native South Americans of any kind. This supposed Amazon rain forest contains Caucasian elves. The female love interest is even lighter-skinned than the male white-guy hero (a reversal of the situation in Walt Disney's Pocahontas).
I remember FernGully, although I haven't seen it.

I get your point, but Asia and other continents have rainforests too. It might be too arrogant or whatever to claim most rainforests are associated with the Amazon so the movie is "wrong" if it doesn't include Indians. I already get criticized enough for being too picky and "PC" without taking on theoretical arguments like this one.If FernGully is not intended to be in the Amazon, then the main thing that changes about my point is the name of the ethnic group of brown (or darker) skinned people who actually live there. It changes from "Indians" to something else.

I think my point ties into something you might have said in your Rima post(s). FernGully is another example of someone placing an ancient enclave of whites in the middle of a territory that in reality is inhabited by indigenous tribes. Then the indigenous tribes take on the role of irrelevant savage interlopers. If they are even mentioned at all, and they aren't in FernGully, a tropical rain forest (central Africa, South America, or southeast Asia), inhabited only by Caucasian-looking fairies (some of them suntanned). I've not actually read the Tarzan books, but I wonder if Burroughs did this there, as well.
Burroughs's Opar is a typical lost white kingdom. I think H. Rider Haggard invented a couple of these kingdoms, as did many other "jungle writers." The NEW MUTANTS comic posited a lost Roman empire in South America. Shangri-La was a lost white paradise in the middle of Asia. Etc.

It's a valid point. Okay, here's a posting on it.

For more on the subject, see Stereotyping Indians by Omission and The Best Indian Movies.


dmarks said...

I like ancient-civilization stories, and have read/seen some OK enclave stories like this. But they are too much the same in ways.

Are there any examples, say, of discovering lost colonies of American Indians in the remote reaches of the Alps or anything like that? Instead, it is always finding ancient colonies of whites in the non-white areas.

Rob said...

There are many lost, hidden Indian civilizations in Central and South America. And a few in remote corners of Western canyons that have never been explored, for some reason. But none that I know of in Europe, Africa, or Asia.