The new film Avatar: The Way of Water is finally here. However, it appears that some Native Americans have decided to boycott James Cameron‘s Avatar sequel.
Yuè Begay, a Navajo artist and co-hair of Indigenous Pride Los Angeles, wrote a tweet regarding the campaign. With more than 40,000 likes, the tweet begins with the following statement:
“Join Natives & other Indigenous groups around the world in boycotting this horrible & racist film. Our cultures were appropriated in a harmful manner to satisfy some 🏳 man’s savior complex. No more Blueface!”
Of course, the desire to boycott Avatar goes back to the first film. In fact, the most recent boycott against the sequel was partially inspired by old comments made by James Cameron in 2010. Specifically, what he told the Guardian while discussing his efforts to oppose the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam:
“I felt like I was 130 years back in time watching what the Lakota Sioux might have been saying at a point when they were being pushed and they were being killed and they were being asked to displace and they were being given some form of compensation,” Cameron began.
“This was a driving force for me in the writing of ‘Avatar’ — I couldn’t help but think that if they [the Lakota Sioux] had had a time-window and they could see the future … and they could see their kids committing suicide at the highest suicide rates in the nation … because they were hopeless and they were a dead-end society — which is what is happening now — they would have fought a lot harder.”
Here are a few tweets made in response recently to James Cameron’s old comments:
Additionally, Autumn Asher BlackDeer made an innovative response by compiling a list of films by Indigenous filmmakers. As her caption states, she made the list for anyone who doesn’t “wanna watch the colonial glorifying blue people movie.”
Many people have also found issues with the film’s casting. Specifically, as noted in an open letter via Instagram, they feel that certain white actors being cast as the Na’vi is an act of “colonialism.” They’ve also started to refer to this as “Blueface.” As further elaborated, they believe that they should be the actors to portray the Na’vi if these characters are based on Indigenous cultures.
“We should’ve been the ones whose faces and voices appeared onto the screen,” the open letter begins. “We are the experts in portraying our hurt, suffering, and more importantly, our resilience.”
“White people being aliens based on actual indigenous people,” the letter continues, is “actual colonialism.”
Avatar: The Way of Water was directed by James Cameron. He wrote the screenplay alongside Josh Friedman. Cameron produced the film alongside Jon Landau. The cast for the film includes Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement and Kate Winslet.
Avatar 2 is currently playing in theaters. Stay tuned to ScreenGeek for any additional updates as we have them.