Dispatched to the Amazon by Hollywood to woo natives and steal their charming stories, James Cameron is torn between following his orders and protecting the rustic simplicity he loves, because it reminds him of a big-budget CGI blockbuster about aliens.

James Cameron, Tribal Hero became an environmentalist after writing Avatar's script. Now he endeavors to "emotionalize" the battle with blockbuster movies, and to protect the leafy-green lifestyles of indigenous South Americans. The New York Times followed Cameron to Brazil where he wore facepaint and spoke to the natives in terms they would understand, utilizing natural metaphors:

"The snake kills by squeezing very slowly," Mr. Cameron said to more than 70 indigenous people, some holding spears and bows and arrows, under a tree here along the Xingu River. "This is how the civilized world slowly, slowly pushes into the forest and takes away the world that used to be," he added.

As if to underscore the point, seconds later a poisonous green snake fell out of a tree, just feet from where Mr. Cameron's wife sat on a log. Screams rang out. Villagers scattered. The snake was killed. Then indigenous leaders set off on a dance of appreciation, ending at the boat that took Mr. Cameron away. All the while, Mr. Cameron danced haltingly, shaking a spear, a chief's feathery yellow and white headdress atop his head.

It was a long-standing prophecy in their world that, at a time of great crisis, Mother Nature would anoint the Chosen One with a squirmy animal in a highly coincidental manner. From that day forth, Corporal Cameron knew—the fight was not just for him. It was for the future.

But seriously, good for you, James Cameron doing something nice with those mega-bucks. And if I saw the snake thing, I'd be like whoa, too. [NYT]

Previously: 'Real' Na'avi of India Beg James Cameron to Save Their Tribe