I Remember You Postironic Belief and Settler Colonialism in Stephen Graham Jones's Ledfeather Joseph Gaudet When James Cameron's Avatar was released in 2009 to record-setting sales, scores of fans and critics praised the film not merely for its groundbreaking cinematography but also for its prescient political critiques. As Duke scholar Michael Carmichael observed, Avatar was a "`hyper-political film' with a simple message: `The American Military-Industrial Complex will utterly destroy the known universe. . . . [T]he evil demons set loose to destroy humanity are--us--the US of A. The evil Usses are, indeed, Us.'" In an age of veiled imperialism, Carmichael contended, Avatar provided the jolt needed to wake the public from their political stupor. But not everyone was so willing to go along with this activist assessment. While some noted the patent influences of Dances with Wolves and other "white savior" films, cultural scholar Lorenzo Veracini interpreted the picture as neither politically left nor right but instead as a markedly settler colonial story.1 In the movie, "the aliens' main role-- like that of indigenous peoples in other settler colonial settings--is to be an obstacle, not to be exploited" (Veracini, "District" 364). Even though the film's protagonist, an American
Studies in American Indian Literatures – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 14, 2016
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