July 16, 2023
  • 12:08 pm Fall Convocation 2022: “The State of this University is Strong”
  • 9:37 pm Ogrin Brings the Thunder in Toros 12-3 rout; team plays for playoff championship tomorrow
  • 7:00 am Outstanding Professor Award Recipient’s Mic Drop Moment at Last Month’s Virtual Ceremony
  • 9:10 am Bookworms of the World Unite!
  • 7:46 pm Breaking News: All Students Living in Campus Housing Required to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
  • 9:00 am CSUDH Esports Creates International Competition
  • 9:35 am Spring Commencement Ceremonies Get Brighter
  • 3:46 pm Breaking News: Spring Commencement Ceremonies Recieve Stadium Upgrade
  • 8:00 am Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)
  • 9:30 am CSUDH Educators and School Employees, Vaccinated Next
  • 10:30 am For White People Only: Anti-Racism Workshop Addresses Racial Bias and Unity
  • 2:43 pm Greatness Personified: Remembering Kobe Bryant
  • 10:02 am Straight Down the Chimney and Into Your (Digital) Hands: Special Holiday Edition of The Bulletin!
  • 2:44 pm Did You Wake up Looking this Beautiful?
  • 11:43 am A Long History for University’s Newest Major
  • 5:15 pm Issue 5 of Bulletin Live! Collector’s Item! Worth its Weight in Digital Paper!
  • 4:06 pm Special Election Issue
  • 4:03 pm Three best Latinx Halloween & Horror Short Films available now on HBO Max
  • 9:49 am Issue 3 of CSUDH Bulletin Live if You Want It
  • 3:24 pm Hispanic Heritage Month Update
  • 2:00 pm South Bay Economic Forecast Goes Virtual
  • 3:52 pm BREAKING NEWS: Classes for Spring to be Online, CSU Chancellor Announces
  • 9:39 am “Strikes” and Solidarity
  • 8:30 am March Into History: Just 5 in 1970, CSUDH Growth Shaped by Historic Event
  • 8:30 am Will the Bulletin Make Today Tomorrow?
  • 9:04 am Different Neighborhoods Warrant Rubber Bullets or Traffic Control For Protesters
  • 5:07 pm STAFF EDITORIAL: Even Socially Distant, We All Have to Work Together
  • 5:47 pm Transcript of CSUDH President Parham’s Coronavirus Announcement
  • 10:46 am Cal State Long Beach Suspends Face-to-Face Classes; CSUDH Discussing Contingency Plans
  • 5:26 pm Things Black People Should be Able to Get Away with This Month
  • 10:25 am Latinx Students Need a Place to Call Home
  • 2:35 pm Will Time Run Out Before Funds for PEGS? [UPDATED]
  • 8:41 am Year of the Rat? What’s That?
  • 6:20 am Artist Who Gave Life to Death and Inspired Countless Others Gets His Due at Dominguez Hills
  • 5:16 pm Why I’m Rooting for Dr. Cornel West
  • 5:00 pm Under Fire from the Feds, Vaping’s Future is Cloudy
  • 3:28 pm We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat; Tsunami 3.0 Hits Campus, Enrollment Swells
  • 4:48 pm University Weathering a Wave of New Students
  • 9:21 pm The Bulletin’s Public Records Request Offers Springboard to Launch Gender Equity Discussion at CSUDH
  • 4:27 pm Black is the New Black: Raising the Capital on the “B” Word
  • 10:53 am Guns Up for Arrest: Student advocacy group pushes for CSU No Gun Zones–Including the Police
  • 4:09 pm Staff Editorial: Words on the First
  • 8:42 pm Carson Mayor Blasts Media, Landmark Libel Case in Keynote Address
  • 9:27 am Free Speech Week Calendar of Events Update
  • 6:02 am Food for Thought: 40% of Students are Food Insecure
  • 3:12 pm Academic Senate Rejects CSU GE Task Force & Report
  • 3:06 pm Work To Be Done
  • 5:56 pm ASI Elections: What You Need to Know
  • 8:02 pm CSUDH President Parham Announces Cancer Diagnosis
  • 9:47 am CSUDH Art Professor’s 20-Year Journey Results in First Local Showing of Film
  • 9:13 pm Free Speech or Free Hate area?
  • 9:08 pm CSUDH’s Best & Brightest Shine at Student Research Day
  • 9:05 pm Academic Senate Approves Gender Equity Task Force
  • 12:37 pm When Dr. Davis speaks, Toros Pay Close Attention
  • 3:38 pm Investing in the Future: Dr. Thomas A. Parham Reflects on the Past Eight Months and Contemplates​ the University’s Future
  • 3:24 pm Green Olive to Open By End of Feb; Starbucks Not Until Fall
  • 3:20 pm Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Hailed for Extensive Funding Increases
  • 3:08 pm Out of the Classroom: Labor and Community Organizing Course Aims to Teach Students How to Organize for Social Justice
  • 2:54 pm The Other Route in Professional Sports
  • 9:02 am Hail to the New Chief, CSUDH President Thomas Parham
  • 3:36 pm Career Center Holds Major/Minor Fair
  • 5:34 pm After Unexpected Delay, Undocumented Becomes More Intimate Theatrical Production
  • 1:30 pm What to Expect When You’re Expecting New Buildings
  • 1:17 pm Peaches, Peaches, Peaches
  • 1:14 pm Bonner Crowned: The Fearless Leader
  • 1:10 pm A Legacy Defined: Cilecia Foster
  • 1:03 pm The Toros Sweep Stanislaus State, Start CCAA Championships 
  • 12:56 pm Year In Review: 2022-23 Toros Athletics 

By Stevey Williams, Staff Reporter

Ever since the film Avatar was released in 2009, fans have waited over a decade, specifically 15 years, for a second film to be released. Finally, the second film, Avatar: Way of the Water was released in theaters in December 2022. While some were excited by the release, others were infuriated by its significant relation to certain racial communities. 

Since the release of the second film of the franchise series, the movie has received enormous backlash from Indigenous groups due to cultural appropriation, misrepresentation of Indigenous people, and the white savior narrative integrated throughout the storyline. As someone who has Native American ancestry from two different tribes, it makes sense why this movie has offended so many people. 

While the fictional Metkayin people in Avatar: Way of the Water, are openly inspired by the Māori people in real life, the characters are also heavily misrepresented in the film, resulting in an inaccurate amalgamation of several Native, African, and Islander cultures. 

There are numerous obvious parallels between real-life Indigenous groups and the Avatar characters, such as their distinct tribal tattoos, their spiritual practices revolving around nature, their distinct facial features and hairstyles and their fight against militarism and colonization. 

In 2015, James Cameron, the director of the two films, said in an interview that, “Avatar very pointedly made reference to the colonial period in the Americas, with all its conflict and bloodshed between the military aggressors from Europe and the Indigenous peoples…Europe equals Earth. The Native Americans are the Na’vi. It’s not meant to be subtle.”

The worst part is, Cameron did not cast any First Nation or Indigenous actors or actresses in the film. So here we have another white director profiting off of racial trauma without proper representation. Is this not disrespectful cultural appropriation? 

Serenity Johnson, a half-Navajo student at Azusa Pacific University and member of the Indigenous Rights Activist Club, said, “It’s disappointing that white people and other ethnicities are representing Indigenous peoples in this film. I just don’t understand why a director who is filming about such a sensitive and personal subject matter does not search harder for representation. It’s shocking.”

Not to mention, the protagonist of the film franchise, Jake Sully, is a white man who helps “save” the people of Pandora from humans imperializing the planet. This perpetuates the classic white savior character complex that many people of color are against in film and media. 

While Cameron is showing how the historical colonization of Indigenous groups destroyed communities, cultures, and landscapes, he is also retelling the story from the white lens of Natives being victims.

“Time and time again, Indigenous people are shown being abused and mistreated. But why can’t we have more stories that are empowering and educational of our beautiful culture?” Johnson said. 

As someone who is also mixed with Black, I think it is the same concept with the African American community not wanting to see every single movie be about slavery and their traumatic history. Why must Indigenous groups always be portrayed as victims of racial abuse? 

Johnson’s sister, Cheyanne, who is also an Indigenous rights activist added, “I will not be watching Avatar. I will be boycotting it, and I know a lot of other people who are conscious of the problem with it who will be boycotting it too.”

While it is important to share stories about history, I think it is also equally important who tells them. Both movies of the Avatar franchise distract the audience with beautiful imagery through the use of amazing high-tech virtual reality technology. The plot may be exciting and keeps people engaged, but there is a deeper underlying issue to the production and delivery of the movie itself. 

From a lens of curiosity and with an open mind, watching Avatar: Way of the Water truly was not worth the hype considering all of the other intersectional qualities involved. While watching the movie is an individual choice, I think that it should not be watched with ignorance but with awareness and an informed mind. 


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