Watching the movie Avatar leads to many Indigenous perspectives on many contemporary issues, including the irony of a movie made for mass production and profits that speaks to enduring issues of colonisation, invasion, destruction of ecosystems, and disrespect to land, people, and the creatures who inhabit and make up the consciousness of a PLACE.
Not the least reflection is that on identity. All the characters in the movie are in some ways challenged to change and grow. Not all of them face what LIFE is giving them to learn. Those who are open to a more Traditional Aboriginal learning process are deeply moved. They are transformed by LIFE. Even the staunch scientist who holds to her beliefs to the bitter end comes to terms with a Creative Force in her dying moment.
In my work as a minority and Indigenous scholar focused in counselling and health, my interest is how people make their sense of meaning through and after hardships. The path to identity is never easy, but those on the margins of power and whose sense of control over their own destiny is compromised have particular challenges – and overall people in these situations demonstrate even more creativity, endurance, and maturity as they age and take on the roles of ‘elders.’
Pandora is not just a box, but a planet where LIFE happens. Will you open that PLACE? If you do, be prepared to go on your own vision quest. It will not be easy. But one thing is certain, you will changed.