This paper explores the Brooklyn Museum’s activism-centered museum practice as exemplified by the exhibition Climate in Crisis: Environmental Change in the Indigenous Americas. The exhibition presents the collections of Indigenous art from North, Central, and South America through the lens of climate change and its impact on the survival of Indigenous people. The main thesis is that the current climate emergency is part of a longer history of environmental colonialism that began five hundred years ago. For millennia, Indigenous communities throughout the Americas have maintained profound and expansive relationships with the natural world. However, beginning in the 1500s, Europe’s conquest and colonization of the Americas forced ways of using natural resources that clashed with traditional Indigenous modes of relating to the world. This fundamental difference in worldview—between one that sees human beings, animals, plants, and the land as interrelated and co-equal, and another that privileges human needs above everything else—has resulted in ever-escalating threats to Indigenous homelands, ways of life, and survival, as well as the unprecedented level of climate change affecting the planet today.
Rosoff, Nancy B.
"Climate in Crisis: Art and Activism at the Brooklyn Museum,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol16/iss1/9
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