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Women of the Dongria Khond tribe in Orissa, India preform a traditional dance.

James Cameron’s Avatar is creating a kind of Christ-like effect in various countries. This story popped up on CNN.Com:

An isolated tribe of nature-worshipping forest-dwellers threatened by a mine ‚Äî yes, the Dongria bear no small resemblance to the Na’vi of James Cameron’s film Avatar. That point was not lost on the international network of activists who have taken up the Dongria’s cause. They ran an advertisement on Feb. 8 in the Hollywood trade publication Variety urging Cameron to support them. “Avatar is fantasy… and real,” the ad says. “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.”

The tribe is trying to protect their land against a mine that is to be built. But protesters are hoping to use some of the Avatar love, and box office profit, to enact actual change:

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests will decide later this year whether to clear the way for the Niyamgiri bauxite mine, and the Dongria’s supporters are mounting a campaign to block it. Survival International, a London-based advocacy group, bought the Avatar ad and produced a short film about the Dongria. Lindsay Duffield, a London-based spokeswoman for the group, says that the Indian government should postpone its decision until India’s 2006 Forest Rights Act is fully implemented. The controversial law is intended to protect the interests of India’s traditional forest dwellers. “The mine should only go ahead if the Dongria accept and want it,” Duffield says.

And a group of Palistinians protested the “Sky People” who are threatening to take their land:


We are here Avatars and Na’vis fighting against the sky people who are taking away our land, and occupying our people,” an activist says. “Here, as opposed to Hollywood, this is real.”

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