Early this morning I saw Tashina Banks, a Lakota from Pine Ridge Reservation, tweet:
James Cameron thinks Lakotas are “hopeless” and “dead-end society” – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/18/avatar-james-cameron-brazil-dam
As a Lakota on the Pine Ridge Rez, I would love to debate James Cameron on Lakota history. Bring It Bitch.
The article in question speaks about James Cameron, as a logical next step from making “Avatar”, joining the fight of indigenous peoples in the Amazon rainforest against losing their way of life to the third largest hydro-electric dam in the world. The paragraph Tashina took exception to was this:
Cameron said witnessing indigenous ceremonies and meetings in the Amazon had made him reflect on the plight of the North American Indians and inspired him to attempt to give the “global consciousness… a heads up”.
“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,” he said. “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.”
I had the feeling that Cameron was at least waking up to the fact that something had gone horrendously wrong in the way Native Americans had been pushed off their land, which is more than you can say for most Americans these days. So I responded to Tashina
@TashinaBanks I don’t think he was attacking the Lakota. The way I read it, he was taking a stand for you guys, or would have seen himself support your cause if this was 130 years ago. He used the Lakota nation as an example for a tribe cheated out of their environment & lifestyle, yes you should try & talk to him & educate but I feel he’s one of the good guys who wants to make amends, & avoid this happening again.
Posting this for two reasons really – of course I’ve always been interested in Native American culture, but also, how about introducing James Cameron to the Dongria Kondh, who are going through the same process of having to fight for their environment and way of life against FTSE 100 company Vedanta Resources, whose tactics have been widely condemned.