The frontier, the idea of new lands needing to be explored and Manifest Destiny. In the text “The Adventures of the Frontier in the Twentieth Century”, Limerick discusses this old thought of the frontier and pioneers and and of the white man journeying into lands unknown to defeat uncivilized savages. This classic vision of the frontier has now been portrayed in movies in pop culture such as James Cameron’s Avatar.
Avatar tells the story of the white man coming to an already inhabited place and taking it for their own. In the movie the people of Earth journey to a planet called Pandora inhabited by the natives called the Na’vi. Their mission for being their is to obtain a rare mineral called unobtanium and they will do anything to get it. They refer to the Na’vi people as “tall blue things” and “savages” and eventually displace them from their home, when it was never theirs to take.
Native Americans have been displaced from their land ever since the settlers first arrived in America. Driven by American exceptionalism, we have always had this idea that is our duty to conquer new lands and to civilize them, but has it ever really been ours to take?