Art as an Alternative Method for Combating Climate Injustice In Indigenous Communities

Britney-Bay Croyle

"Apsáalooke Roses" by Wendy Red Star is one of the breathtaking pieces of art that is analyzed in this research.

"Apsáalooke Roses" by Wendy Red Star is one of the breathtaking pieces of art that is analyzed in this research.

Graduate Student Project

Introduction

Of course, we love Art. This isn't a question; we fill our lives with images that please us aesthetically. We know art has the power to entrance, persuade, and inspire, but can it go as far to be a tool for sustainability justice? Native American artists especially have shown the power behind strong artistic images. Their art, both formal and informal, has proven to be a tool in rallying a movement and media attention on environmental issues. It is important for us to understand art as a reframing tool, in order for us to strive for environmental and social justices.

Abstract

Native American communities in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota face environmental and social injustices that we know as the Keystone XL pipeline, a project proposed by Trans-Canada. During the construction of the oil pipeline, indigenous communities have and continue to face violations to their land rights, risk to their health, and cultural degradation. With little public awareness of the communities' social and environmental injustice, how can an alternative method such as art be used to bring attention and garner support for indigenous communities' battle for environmental justice and social equality? 

In a society, such as ours, that promotes a culture of media saturation with endless data, news, and entertainment, grabbing a viewer's attention to these environmental injustices calls for an understanding of the social and political potential of art of the affected community. This connection between culture and environment is key to reframing socio-ecological injustice.

 

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