Avatar and Tecumseh

“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.

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3 thoughts on “Avatar and Tecumseh

  1. I saw the Tecumseh story in the movie and recognized it immediately (I have seen the production of the outdoor drama “Tecumseh” in Chilicothe Ohio many times). I was happy the way “Avatar” ended though…

  2. Here in Indiana, we have heard about Tecumseh since elementary school. They just never told us how close he was to winning 🙂

    In Vincennes, Indiana there an elementary schoool called “Harrison and Tecumseh elementary.” so it goes.

    i should head over to chilicothe sometime and catch the play.

  3. I commented to my brother after the film that this was very similar to Tecumsehs story and BlueJacket’s too. Or earlier tales of BlueJacket I should say. Great stuff. Both warriors stories should be told, these were great events in American history that were left out and forgotten by many.

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