Monday, February 08, 2010

Tribal people appeal to Avatar movie maker

Tribal peoples’ rights organization Survival International has appealed
to Avatar director James Cameron on behalf of an Indian tribe through an ad
in the film industry magazine Variety (published today 8 February 2010).
In the ad Survival asks Mr Cameron to help the Dongria Kondh tribe of
Orissa, India, whose story is uncannily similar to that of the Na'vi in

Avatar is fantasy .. and real.
The Dongria Kondh tribe in India are struggling to defend their land against
a mining company hell-bent on destroying their sacred mountain.
Please help the Dongria.
We've watched your film – now watch ours:

Survival's ten-minute film 'Mine: story of a sacred mountain', narrated
by Joanna Lumley, exposes the Dongria's plight.

The Dongria live in the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa state, India. British
FTSE-100 company Vedanta Resources is determined to mine their sacred
mountain's rich seam of bauxite (aluminium ore). Vedanta is majority-owned
by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal.

The Dongria and other local Kondh people are resisting Vedanta, and are
determined to save Niyamgiri from becoming an industrial wasteland. Other
Kondh groups are already suffering from a bauxite refinery, built and
operated by Vedanta, at the base of the Niyamgiri Hills.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry says, ‘Just as the Na’vi describe the
forest of Pandora as ‘their everything’, for the Dongria Kondh, life and
land have always been deeply connected. The fundamental story of Avatar –
if you take away the multi-coloured lemurs, the long-trunked horses and
warring androids – is being played out today in the hills of Niyamgiri in
Orissa, India.

Like the Na’vi of ‘Avatar’, the Dongria Kondh are also at risk, as their
lands are set to be mined by Vedanta Resources who will stop at nothing to
achieve their aims. [8]The mine will destroy the forests on which the
Dongria Kondh depend and wreck the lives of thousands of other Kondh tribal
people living in the area.

I do hope that James Cameron will join the Dongria's struggle to save their
sacred mountain and secure their future.'