James Cameron’s latest visual spectacle, Avatar: The Way of Water, is not sitting well with everyone.
Several groups of Native Americans are calling for a boycott of Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to Cameron’s 2009 box office blockbuster Avatar.
The protest is a direct result of some resurfaced comments from Cameron. The legendary movie director is a well-known environmentalist and, in 2010, spoke about campaigning against the building of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the Amazon. He also mentioned how after learning from indigenous tribes, he was inspired to write Avatar.
“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 said in a resurfaced interview The Guardian.
Cameron continued, “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.”
Indigenous Groups Are Not Here For James Cameron & His Blue Trash
His comments did not fly with members of several indigenous groups, and they have accused him of pushing a white savior complex.
Yuè Begay, an indigenous leader, felt insulted by the Titanic director’s comments and called for a boycott of the highly-anticipated sequel.
Joanna Brewer, a Smith College professor, is calling on people to protest the film. “James Cameron apparently made Avatar to inspire all my dead ancestors to “fight harder.” Eff right off with that savior complex, bud. And everyone, please go watch a real native movie instead of that badly appropriated blue trash,” Brewer said in a tweet.
James Cameron apparently made Avatar to inspire all my dead ancestors to “fight harder”. Eff right off with that savior complex, bud. And everyone, please go watch a real native movie instead of that badly appropriated blue trash. https://t.co/XndxXm3B1d
— Dr. Johanna Brewer (@deadroxy) December 17, 2022
The call for the boycott comes after Avatar: The Way of Water already made a big splash in theaters since its release bringing in $435 million globally this past weekend.
The groups have offered alternatives moviegoers can watch if they want to see films influenced by Native American culture.
Do NOT watch Avatar: The Way of Water
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!
Lakota people are powerful! pic.twitter.com/NmHVU565u3
— 🌽Asdzáá Tłʼéé honaaʼéí🌽(She/Her)🌽 (@asdza_tlehonaei) December 18, 2022
James Cameron has yet to speak or issue a statement on the matter.
Photo: 20th Century Studios / Avatar: The Way of Water