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Climate in Crisis: Environmental Change in the Indigenous Americas

Friday, Feb 14, 2020

Climate in Crisis: Environmental Change in the Indigenous Americas
February 14, 2020 – January 10, 2021
Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor

Climate change is having a severe impact on indigenous communities across the Americas, but this situation has an even longer history. The European conquest and colonization of the Americas beginning in the sixteenth century introduced ways of using and exploiting natural resources that clashed with indigenous ways of understanding and relating to the natural world. This exhibition draws upon the strength of the Brooklyn Museum's renowned collection to highlight indigenous worldviews about the environment, and the ongoing threat of ecological destruction.

Climate in Crisis: Environmental Change in the Indigenous Americas is curated by Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator, Arts of the Americas, with Joseph Shaikewitz and Shea Spiller, Curatorial Assistants, Arts of the Americas and Europe.

Climate in Crisis at BMA
Eskimo artist. Engraved Whale Tooth, late 19th century. Sperm whale tooth, black ash or graphite, oil, 61/2 × 3 × 2 in. (16.5 × 7.6 × 5.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Gift of Robert B. Woodward, 20.895. Creative Commons-BY. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)

The installation includes work spanning 2,800 years, and explores how indigenous beliefs, practices, and ways of living are impacted by the climate crisis, ranging from the effects of melting sea ice and overfishing for Native peoples of the Arctic and Pacific Northwest to illegal logging and deforestation for indigenous communities in the Amazon. This environmental perspective reveals the fundamental disparities between the misuse of natural resources over the past five hundred years and indigenous communities' profound relationships with their ancestral homelands. In addition, the exhibition incorporates voices of contemporary indigenous activists to underscore the work being done today to counter the climate crisis and protect the planet.

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