Written by Matt Packer, introduction by Kelutral.org
Like Hometree on Pandora, Kelutral is not a single organism, but rather a diverse and interconnected community of individuals who have come together to create an ecosystem for Avatar fans and Na'vi language learners alike to come and thrive. With the help of Matt Packer's wonderful wordsmithing, we are thrilled to bring to light the faces and names of community members who have contributed substantially to Kelutral in a series of Member of the Month profiles, the first of which can be found below and features our dear Eana Unil!
Eana Unil is an artist and Na’vi Language teacher from Schwäbisch Hall, Germany. Here, she talks about how Avatar has inspired her, and what being part of the language community means to her.
What's your biggest memory from the first time you watched Avatar?
Being completely overwhelmed by all the sensory input that was going on: this completely new world, with incredible, new visuals, and all these wonderful creatures – including, first and foremost, the Na’vi. And how I immediately – I don’t want to say “fell in love” with the Na’vi, but I was definitely intrigued by them and felt a strong connection right away – especially in terms of how they interconnected with their surroundings and all the nature they lived alongside. Their respect for it, and each other, just fascinated me. It really hit a nerve – like, “Okay, I wish we humans did that more,” you know what I mean?
The film resonated with me right from the get-go. And the scene that made me want to go down the rabbit hole of learning the Na’vi Language was when Grace was about to die and the Omaticaya were attempting to save her, and Mo’at is speaking her prayer to Eywa while the clan are sitting before her, all connected and chanting as one. Even today, that scene gives me shivers. And the first time I saw it, I thought: Okay… I need to learn everything I possibly can about this language.
What does Avatar mean to you – what sort of place does it have in your heart?
That’s a big one! The short answer is that it has been my home, more or less, on the internet for the past 12 years. From the moment I joined the Na’vi Language community, I just felt completely at home and never wanted to leave. I’m still part of it now, and I’m very happy about that. If I suddenly weren’t a member of that community anymore, well – I couldn’t imagine how that would feel. There would be a massive hole in my life. I have other hobbies and interests – but Avatar has become this huge thing that has influenced me so much.
How has Avatar influenced you and your life?
Even more so than I did before, I try to treat others with kindness as much as possibly can. I don’t know what each person who I meet throughout the day has been going through – so I try to judge less and be kinder. I hope that if I can inspire people by staying friendly in everyday situations, they may be inspired to do the same after me. I also try to do better at understanding where others are coming from. That seeing into people that the Na’vi do is something we humans are capable of as well.
This reminds me of the scene where Norm is coaching Jake on the meaning of ‘oel ngati kameie’, and Jake’s not really getting it – that it’s about seeing into who the other person truly is and understanding them, not just looking at what’s on the surface.
Exactly. It’s about accepting that person even if they’re withdrawn and, at the very least, taking it for granted that that’s just the way things are with them at that moment, and doing the best with that rather than trying to be negative about it. I think we could all use a bit more of that in our everyday lives.
But that’s just one aspect of it! Avatar has also influenced me a lot creatively. I’m an artist, and I’ve been drawing fan art pretty much since the day I first watched the movie. I was so curious about the Na’vi that I wanted to draw them as a way of mapping out their anatomy and how they work – and how they are proportionally so different to humans. But it’s actually helped me to grow as an artist – I’ve improved quite a lot as a result of all the fan art I’ve done. I mean, 12 years is a lot of time for getting stuff done!
Is your fan art concerned mostly with the Na’vi, or do you also explore the creatures and the RDA side of things?
I’m not an RDA fan! Their hardware looks amazing… but no! I’ve drawn some of the creatures because they’re cute and fun to draw, and I still think that the artists who worked – and are working – on Avatar are geniuses for coming up with those designs. But outside my Avatar art, the thing that interests me the most is the human subject. So that feeds into why I’m so fascinated by the Na’vi.
But it’s not just anatomical – it’s about the language, culture and lore. Everything is interwoven. A great metaphor for this is that if Grace is a xenobotanist who’s studying Pandora’s plants, I’d want to be the person who follows her around with a sketchbook, taking notes, drawing lots of pictures of the specimens she’s studying and trying to understand that world – only my focus is the Na’vi.
What does your non-Avatar art explore?
I’m a tattooist by trade, so I work with all kinds of art styles to give my clients the results they want. But the stuff I draw outside of client commissions and my Avatar work is really dark, weird and twisted – the complete opposite of my Avatar art! So I think I’m living a kind of duality, there – the dark side, and then the light-blue side! It’s a fun contrast.
How did you get involved with the Na'vi language community?
That happened around April 2010. I didn’t watch Avatar as soon as it came out – the first time I saw it was actually a few months later. I came out of the theater, let the movie sink in for a day, then started Googling to see what was out there about the Na’vi Language and whether there was a way of learning it. So, on one hand, I was a little late to the party – but on the other, by the time I started searching, a foundation stone of the community already existed. With that in place, I reached out to and started interacting with the people I found.
Who were your first contacts?
Probably the biggest name in the community who comes up when I think back to where I began is Plumps. My first language is German, so it was natural for me to seek out fellow German fans and find out how they were getting to grips with Na’vi. Plumps is now a very dear friend, and I can say without doubt that he was the person who taught me most about the language. He’s awesome – a great guy.
Thanks to the German side of the community, I came into contact with a Na’vi study group for German-speaking people. Fast-forward to the present, and I am now leading and administrating that group! That has been my role for the past three years. So, the group’s still around, I’m still around – and so are some of the people from back when I began.
Along the way, I also made contact with Mako, Pamìrìk, Txawey and Alìmtsì. Around three or four years ago, I took on Tekre and Tomke as students – and now I can proudly say that each of them has become a karyu, or teacher. I’ve met both Tekre and Tomke in person, and they’re great people. Meeting Mako, Pamìrìk, Txawey and Alìmtsì, who are all based in the US, is definitely on my wish list!
Oh, and I mustn’t forget nawma Neytiri, who we think of as ‘our’ Neytiri… people who know her will know who I mean! Out of us all, she’s the one who I would swear is actually from Pandora, because she’s just so fluent with the language and lore. She’s amazing.
What’s it like to be part of that community?
Warmth. Feeling welcomed. Being able to be yourself. We have all these very different people, with very different jobs and interests outside Avatar and even very different views on the world sometimes – and yet we all come together to celebrate this one thing, as one. And that’s a phenomenon I haven’t witnessed anywhere else on the internet, or in life. It’s really a clan – its own type of family. It’s definitely not your average type of online community. It’s something more.
What excites you most about the Avatar sequels?
More info and details about the Na’vi, Pandora itself, the biology of things and how it all works – and, of course, the language! More words, more grammar – but the thing that fascinates and interests me most on that front is the introduction of Na’vi sign language.
That’s going to completely change the game.
I hope so! It will mean more video lessons, which will be interesting and fun. I know that James Cameron will do a fantastic job with the story, but what I’m more interested in is finding out more about the world. It’s so unique, both visually and details-wise, that I’m just itching to get back there. The flying-fish/crocodile at the end of the teaser is already a big “Wow!” moment for me, and I loved the glimpses of all the different sea creatures and corals, as well as the Metkayina reef people. Can’t wait to take a closer look.
Hello AVATAR clan,
kaltxì ma olo’ unìltirantokxähello avatar clan!
The year of AVATAR 2 is upon us, and despite a quiet month in the fandom there's still a lot to be excited about in the coming months! Let's take a look back at January to see what all was revealed/announced across the Na'vi Language community and AVATAR fandom.
Community podcast Eana Mokri came out of the gates swinging with a brand new episode to kick off the new year! Episode 32, "How to Talk About AVATAR News with Eana Mokri" discussed Kelutral.org's appearance on How to With John Wilson, the year of AVATAR 2, and caught up with the end of the year grammar updates from Paul Frommer over on Naviteri. But that wasn't all from Eana Mokri this month! They also published episode 33, Live from OmatiCon, which was recorded during Kelutral's second-annual OmatiCon on January 8th. Both episodes are now available on the podcast streaming platform of your choice.
Naviteri.org was quiet this month, absent of its usual end of month language update from Paul Frommer. We hope this is indication of the franchise entering the final phases before the sequel's release this December! The one update we did receive clarified some longstanding grammar questions, which is always welcome (especially since some of these questions have existed for nearly 13 years at this point!) Read Paul's post here.
Nearly a year ago to the day, Kelutral.org partnered with a community for AVATAR: Pandora Rising, and over the course of that year not much changed in that community due to silence on the development end of the game. That changed at the end of January, when the AVATAR: Pandora Rising development team completed the final server merge, bringing all pre-release players into a single server.
For Kelutral, this signals major changes on the horizon. We used the silence of January to perform a complete overhaul on the Pandora Rising branch and prepare it for the game's eventual global release later this year. Find out more about this change here.
In addition to Pandora Rising, @officialavatar announced an additional mobile game coming later this year: AVATAR: Reckoning! A closed beta test took place in Canada last weekend and reactions from those who participated are extremely positive. The game promises to be an interesting look into post-film Pandora, while also being an engaging multiplayer game. Stay tuned for breaking news on this game's development!
Kelutral Status Update
Kelutral exists to provide a home for the James Cameron's AVATAR fanbase and to promote the growth of the Na'vi language community. Our goal is to create a space to learn Na'vi that is on the bleeding edge of innovation and growth. Part of accomplishing these goals is recognizing where others are more equipped to provide certain resources, and so with that in mind, we have two announcements concerning our community that we would like to reveal.
Kelutral.org is pleased to announce a collaborative partnership with LearnNavi.org. In additon to having their own learning programs, LearnNavi is the internet's premier archive of the Na'vi language's history and canon. Mid-January, the administrators of Kelutral and LearnNavi met and reached an agreement on a set of goals to promote the growth and health of the Na'vi language community over the coming years. You will find a link to LearnNavi in the "friends" section of our footer in addition to the continued reference to LearnNavi resources in our learning community.
The second announcement that we would like to make is that we are going to be supplementing Na'vi as a Second Language so that NaSL can be taken offline for a much needed rewrite and format change. To achieve this, we are announcing the Na'vi Survival Guide- an innovative, interactive virtual lesson series that is the first of its kind in the history of the Na'vi language community. Designed to be evergreen content with interactive, variable practice, the Na'vi Survival Guide will provide a space for learners with even the smallest amount of time or availability to learn the Na'vi language without needing live lessons. Take part in the open beta for series 1 here!
That’s all for January. A lot to look forward to from around the "AVATAR" community! Be sure to follow our socials for breaking news from the franchise and fanbase as it happens.
Kelutral's recent appearance on "How To with John Wilson" has resurfaced a campaign of hate against Kelutral.org and its members. The campaign claims Kelutral to be transphobic, when in fact two of the six members pictured in 'How To' are trans-identifying members of our community. As always, we remain committed to creating a welcoming, diverse and inclusive community for fans of James Cameron's AVATAR to come and learn the Na'vi language. We also believe that people grow and change, and that their actions speak louder than words.
Kelutral does not condone hate, and rather than lower ourselves to engage with the person(s) devoting so much of their time and energy to it, we would rather respond with a gesture of kindness and solidarity:
100% of the proceeds from the merchandise sales for OmatiCon 2022 will benefit 'The Trevor Project' and #TeamSeas, split evenly.
LGBTQ members are a part of our DNA, and will continue to be for many years to come.
Join us for OmatiCon 2022 on January 8th, and pick up your exclusive event shirt or stickers before January 15th to benefit these wonderful causes.
'ivong Na'vi, 'ivong Kelutral
October is off to a frightening start at Kelutral.org and we're hosting more events in a single month than we ever have before! Now is an excellent time to pop back in and learn Na'vi, play some Minecraft on our shiny new Minecraft server, or participate in one of our Halloween-themed events like our Na'vi language writing competition!
With the end of the year rapidly approaching, there's a lot more on the horizon. Join our growing Discord server today and make sure you don't miss out on breaking news and other surprises in the coming months. Trust us, you're not going to want to miss what's coming.
October 16th, 2021 - Halloween-themed Creative Minecraft Build Contest ends
October 22nd, 2021 - Na'vi Writing Contest submission deadline
October 29th, 2021 - Spooky stories night
October 30th, 2021 - Pumpkin Carving Contest submission deadline
A community blog for language updates, AVATAR news, and community happenings, maintained by the members of Kelutral.org