Avatar Being Replayed in the Northwest

Dr. Grace Augustine: Those trees were sacred to the Omaticaya in a way you can’t imagine.

Parker Selfridge: Oh, you know what? You throw a stick in the air around here it’s gonna land on some sacred fern, for Christ Sake!

Avatar Script

Highway Planner, Former Off-World Mining Executive

Real Life: (Northwest Public Radio)

Attorneys for several Northwest tribal elders argued in federal court in Portland on Monday that the destruction of a spiritual site along Highway 26 near Oregon’s Mount Hood nearly a decade ago violated their religious freedoms.

Members of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, as well as the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, say they can no longer practice religious ceremonies at the site because it no longer exists.

 They’re asking a federal judge to rule that the government violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. -snip-

During the expansion, burial grounds and a stone altar were destroyed, and old-growth trees were cut down. The tribal elders argue the area was a place of worship.

Today the site — about 13 miles west of Government Camp — is a grass-covered berm. But it was once “the place of big, big trees,” said plaintiff Carol Logan, an elder with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. 

I’m not qualified to figure out who is the bad guy. This situation mirrors the Na’vi and the Dakota Access Pipeline in another important way:

During oral arguments Monday, Schifman also said the tribal members didn’t engage with the public process during the highway expansion, making it difficult for the government to understand the significance of the site.

You must engage — even if you are not willing to compromise. In fact, especially if your position is right and correct. You must engage. You can’t just skip the process which you knew about, then sue later. Well, can’t is a strong word. Shouldn’t. 

Unless the highway was a secret, or the highway planner’s didn’t know about how sacred the site was…I’m still unwilling to blame anyone. Or, I’m willing to blame them all.

Just one more pop culture reference:

“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

By the way, I mean no disrespect to Native Americans or their culture by comparing it to Avatar, the film which recreates the American indigenous history with the subtlety of a hammer.  




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6 Responses to Avatar Being Replayed in the Northwest

  1. Russ says:

    Ex post facto declaration of something as a “sacred site” is… well, nothing but bullshit.;


  2. JorgXMcKie says:

    We’re in the Era of You Can’t Change Anything! I guess. Sooner or later that dam will have to burst. I hope it’s sooner. Not everything old is worth preserving. Some things, sure, but not everything.


  3. trebuchet says:

    Arthur Dent had one more question at the end of that dialogue/monologue, that completes the joke:

    “Have you ever thought of going into advertising?”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. D. Edgren says:

    Poor snowflakes, always trying to win the last (i.e. already decided) battle instead of the next one. News flash: The Nineteenth Century is over, folks. The Injuns lost. Get over it.


  5. w says:

    I hated Avatar. I cheered when the bad guy in the mech suit pulled out the knife; I wasn’t the only one who cheered-


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