"For a subject worked and reworked so often in novels, motion pictures, and television, American Indians remain probably the least understood and most misunderstood Americans of us all."

-John F. Kennedy in
the introduction to The American Heritage Book of Indians

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Avatar update- Cameron goes native!

From this morning's New York Times-

Amazon tribes find ally out of "Avatar"

Well, it was only a matter of time before the Avatar-Indian connection went mainstream.  In Brazil, there is a plan to build a dam in the Amazon river basin that would flood hundreds of square miles and displace thousands of indigenous people.  In many ways, this situation perfectly parallels the construction of numerous dams in the American west including the ambitious 1944 Pick-Sloan plan for the Missouri River basin.  A series of dams were built to control flooding, provide irrigation, create hydroelectric power, and regulate water levels for river traffic along the Missouri.  In the process, millions of acres of prime river bottom farmland were flooded.  Working at the Knife River Indian Villages in North Dakota, I always included the story of Garrison Dam as part of my centuries long narrative of the Three Affiliated Tribes.  That dam flooded millions of acres of their homeland and destroyed several towns including the largest city Sanish.  The wounds of this latest injustice are still fresh today and the impact of Garrison Dam is still felt in today's generations.  Need a visual?  This photo pretty much sums up the fight 70 years ago as well as the current fight in the Amazon today.

I applaud the efforts of James Cameron to bring attention to this issue, it sure is going to be a tough fight.  Be sure to check out the audio slideshow as it provides even more insight into this Amazon case.

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