Since its release, Avatar has been frequently cited for its similarities with other movies and stories. To the point where director James Cameron has been the subject of several lawsuits for plagiarism and infringement. In a statement on Thursday at the UNESCO Masterpieces Festival, the Culture Minister for the Republic of Yakutia Andrey Borisov suggested that Avatar was based on their traditional epos, also known as epic poems.

“Some 20 years ago I was insisting on developing Yakut cinema, or otherwise the US studios would make movies based on our own thoughtful eposes” Minister Borisov said: “And today we see that Cameron;s Avatar was based on the olonkho epos.”

Minister Borisov did not mention which epos Avatar had drawn inspiration from.