Avatar: The Way of Water is facing calls for a boycott over its alleged “appropriation” of indigenous cultures.
Both Avatar films have drawn criticism for amalgamating aspects of various Indigenous cultures, while casting several white and other non-indigenous actors in the roles of the Na’vi.
Yuè Begay, a Native American influencer and co-chair of Indigenous Pride LA, is among those to publicly propose a Way of Water boycott.
“Do NOT watch Avatar: The Way of Water,” they wrote on Twitter, shortly after the film’s release. “Join Natives and other Indigenous groups around the world in boycotting this horrible and racist film.”
They added: “Our cultures were appropriated in a harmful manner to satisfy some [white] man’s savior complex. No more Blueface! Lakota people are powerful!”
Cameron has also been criticised for comments he made back in 2010, in which he appeared to suggest that Native American tribes could have “fought harder” against colonial displacement and genocide.
“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 told The Guardian at the time.
“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 [taking their own lives] 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.”
Others have also shared on social media that they have boycotted the film, which is nonetheless on course to hit $1bn in box office takings in the new year.
The Independent has contacted Cameron’s representative for comment.