An 8000-person tribe is angling to become a cause célèbre via Avatar. "Appeal to James Cameron. Avatar is fantasy... and real," their ad in Variety implores. The Dongria Kondh's land is being mined and polluted. Luckily, their publicist is shrewd.

The director of Survival, a charity that campaigns on behalf of the Dongria explained before the ad's debut:

Just as the Na'vi describe the forest of Pandora as 'their everything', for the Dongria Kondh, life and land have always been deeply connected. The fundamental story of Avatar – if you take away the multi-coloured lemurs, the long-trunked horses and warring androids – is being played out today in the hills of Niyamgiri.

Like the Na'vi, the Dongria Kondh are also at risk, as their lands are set to be mined by Vedanta Resources who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. The mine will destroy the forests on which the Dongria Kondh depend and wreck the lives of thousands of other Kondh tribal people living in the area.

James Cameron has yet to comment on the Dongria's plight. If they can't get him, they could always tap into the tireless energy of Avatards, although then they'd have to deal with weirdos who want to live among them and have tentacle sex with them. It's hard out there for a Na'vi.

Dongria Kondh Ask ames Cameron to Help Save Their Tribe [HuffPo]
Indian Tribe Appeals for Avatar Director's Help to Stop Vedanta [Guardian]
WTF, Vedanta Resources [Amnesty]