“Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mochican, the Pocanet, and other powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and oppression of the white man, as snow before the summer sun … Sleep not longer, O Choctaws and Chickasaws … Will not the bones of our dead be plowed up, and their graves turned into plowed fields?–Tecumseh
I saw Avatar last week. Its a movie that will probably inspire a few blog posts. I wrote about the co-branding of Avatar and McDonald’s last week. That is like asking the KKK to sponsor Schindler’s List.
Avatar tells the story of a rebellion by indigenous aliens against would-be human colonizers. Unlike in history, the indigenous of Pandora smash the colonialists. Complete victory–at least until the sequels. The story can be related to many anti-colonial stories and Avatar’s hero, Jake Sully, is a 22nd century veteran of wars in anti-colonial hot spots Nigeria and Venezuala. Most loudly, Avatar makes an obvious link to the plight of Native Americans. Some critics have called the movie a “Dances With Wolves in space“.
As the movie reaches its turning point, Jake Sully, the former marine duped to fight the rich man’s wars, goes rogue with a vengenence. He becomes an even greater warrior than the fierce warriors of the Na’vi.
Essentially, Jake Sully becomes Tecumseh.
You should read Tecumseh: A Life by John Sugden but essentially Tecumseh was a Native American chief that united tribes from across the “midwest” in what were the largest battles between American forces and Native Americans in US history. During the war of 1812, some historians believe that Tecumseh would have delivered a fatal blow to the US Army in the midwest if the British, allied with the Indians, had followed through with their commitments.