How Avatar Relates To Indigenous Religion
The epic action movie “Avatar” by James Cameron is about fictional blue Na’vi aborigines from the planet Pandora whose culture is the echo of the almost all indigenous cultures of Earth. The narrative of the film shows the white people’s intention to colonize native inhabitants and destroy their cultural heritage as geological surveys have identified a large deposit of unobtanium, a material which is very expensive and can save Earth from the energetic crisis, under the Hometree of the avatars, an object of worship (Cameron, 2009). This confrontation in “Avatar” is a reminder that the white people conquered Native Americans hundreds of years ago. However, Na’Vi have created a spiritual connection with their nature which gives them an inner power to resist. Pandora inhabitants relate to indigenous religion by respectful relationships with nature, a framing of sacred time and space, and respect for origins, gods, and ancestors.
One of the main topics in the movie is the necessity to look to native peoples and religions for insightful lessons in the relationship between human beings and nature. Mark Molloy marks “an extraordinary sensitivity to the natural elements” (Molloy, 2013, 35) in indigenous religion. His statement that indigenous religions exist within holistic cultures in which every object and act may have religious meaning and the culture of blue tribes who believe that all beings are connected to each other by Eywa, collective divinity, which in Hinduism translates as an avatar, the embodiment of god or any abstract idea, call to one another (Molloy, 2013). In “Avatar” tribes of the planet have a deep connection with nature, they respect any manifestation of it and do not cause any harm (Cameron, 2009). As well as the Native Americans, Na’Vi take only the necessary to survive. For example, they have a short ritual honoring the killed animals for food only when necessary, and it means gratitude for animal’s sacrifice. It is similar to the rituals of Native Americans described by Molloy when humans showed the respect to nature by honoring plants and animals they kill to eat (Molloy, 2013). He also states that in Indigenous religions everything is the part of the same invisible sacred reality. The Na’Vi believe that all living things have a spiritual connection or animus, they see nature as a single connected system which is the manifestation of Eywa.
Molloy states that in indigenous religions time is sacred and cyclical, it returns to its origins for renewal. Sacred time creates the sense of holiness in everyday life as they conform to mythic events (Molloy, 2013). The important part of Na’Vi’s culture are myths which serve as a history crossing from generation to generation by storytelling. All inhabitants of the Pandora create a unity with nature which transforms into eternity. For example, when one member of the clan dies his soul goes to Eywa and body runs into nature. They also have some kind of collective consciousness through connections with all living which center is …