Re-Discovering the Power of Native Wahine: Women, Nature and Mythology in Disney’s Animation Film Moana

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Hyma Santhosh, Dr. Beena S Nair


In a world where Native women are picturized as victims of colonization, there is a common tendency to forget what these women actually possessed or stood for in the ancient Indigenous societies. The victimized female was a result of the collective Indigenous memory corruption imposed upon the Indigenous people. This paper aims to restore the importance of the traditional Native women by portraying the role and importance that they were entitled with in their communities by analyzing Nature and Mythology in the animated film, Moana. The Indigenous Polynesian culture, particularly the Māori become the focus of the movie through the life of the protagonist, Moana. The paper analyses the powerful female characters in Māori mythology, the female characters portrayed in the movie and their role in the traditional Māori society. Nature becomes a key aspect in the movie for portraying its importance in the Indigenous life and mythology. The paper thus focuses on how women became the central part of Māori existence.

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