Monday, March 7, 2011

Whale Rider Movie Raises Native Issues

Whale Rider is about a 12-year-old New Zealand Maori who would be hereditary chief - if she weren't a girl. This film is based on the book by Witi Ihimaera. The story raises issues that fans of indigenous culture like myself can't ignore.

I'm a researcher of anthropology. I've written about native people in Canadian Ethnic Studies, Monday Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, Eclectica Literary Journal, Outdoor Canada and my new book. I teach at a university with many native students. Still, I've never suggested that indigenous culture must be preserved at all costs. This movie addresses why.

How far do we go to sustain tradition when it is oppressive to women, perpetuating of undemocratic leadership from hereditary social castes, and committed to focusing education on near-extinct languages or folkways when youth lack basic skills for access to the global economy?

Individual and group rights both call out for respect. These are ethical concerns that indigenous leaders (who often profit financially from speaking for the group) and government officials (who usually profit politically from endorsing the system) shouldn't wash their hands of. I recommend this film to all travelers with an appreciation for native culture but also human rights. Ladies who find the movie awakens a primal longing to "ride the whale" are urged to contact me immediately.

13 comments:

  1. "Ladies who find the movie awakens a primal longing to "ride the whale" are urged to contact me immediately."

    No that would be more like ride the minnow. BURN!
    ;) Nice piece, no double entendre intended.

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  2. seems interesting the movie, also is important to preserve the culture because there is our identity that we really are, not technology advanced and expensive clothes, just the pure idea of life and death that is immersed in the indigenous culture

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  3. It is an interesting film and not seen the girl is beautiful

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  4. I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I got goosebumps at the end when she steps into her role as the chief.

    Being ignorant of Maori culture, I simply couldn't understand why her grandfather didn't see her innate gifts or ability to lead when his sons showed no interest whatsoever. Perhaps that's the point; simply because she was female, she wasn't qualified.

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  5. Sounds like a great movie. I like things that address why.

    I'm following.

    ecwrites.blogspot.com

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  6. Oscar Garcia GonzalezMarch 8, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    I like the movie of Raises Native Issues, but the girl is the most pretty.

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  7. This is an interesting movie

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  8. this blog is good and the story of whale is interesting.

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  9. Great post - not seen the movie but since I now know the end I might not bother - Cheers ;D

    I'm a new follower - found you vial Book Blogs.

    Shah at wordsinsync.blogspot.com x

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  10. Will have to check out this movie. Sounds like a really good one.

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  11. booorrrriiiinnnnggg from jordana and tara!!!

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  12. Jordana & Tara,
    Confuuuuuuuusing! What's boring? The movie? My review? Your sex life? I appreciate you commenting, but feel free to use more than one word in your effort to get your point across.

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  13. oscar garcia consuela gomez rodriguez gonzalez...you are sick man...that KID is not even twelve ughhh...disgusting....

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