Skip to content 'Avatar: The Last Airbender': A critique of colonialism

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While an animated children’s program originally airing on Nickelodeon in the mid-aughts may not seem like the obvious place to explore the moral complexities of colonialism and war, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” does exactly that.

In the world of “Avatar,” there are four nations that are each characterized by a different element: Water, Earth, Fire and Air.

The show tells the story of the newly found Avatar, Aang, a 12-year-old boy who has been frozen in an iceberg for the past 100 years.

While Aang, a member of the Air Nation, is frozen in the iceberg, the Fire Nation enacts a mass genocide on the Air Nation people and erradicates them completely.

Of course, we cannot discuss colonialism and “Avatar” without referencing the historical cultures that helped inspire it.

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