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Traveling art show connects energy poalicy, art and Native American communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, October 17, 2005

Minneapolis, MN - Honor the Earth, a national Native American foundation and political advocacy organization, is launching its Impacted Nations traveling art show in New York City this month. Premiering at the Nathan Cummings Foundation at 475 10th Avenue (between 36th and 37th Streets) now through January 2006, the artwork profiles the intersection of Indigenous
artists and environmental concerns.

With over fifty pieces of artwork spanning the continent, Impacted Nations is an artistic collaboration that portrays the conflict between Native peoples' cultural and spiritual relationship to Native land and the economic forces that undermine that relationship and Indigenous ways of life.   The show also features artwork depicting renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

"The fact is that out of two trillion barrels of oil on the planet, we have used one trillion (most of it in the past fifty years). At the rate of current consumption, we will use the remaining reserves within the next 40 years," Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth's Executive Director explains. "The concerns of Indigenous peoples are concerns of the American economy. The U.S. is the largest energy market in the world and a lion's share of that is in transportation.  The next steps on the road ahead will be
different and will be challenging."

Janeen Antoine, Impacted Nations curator adds, "This nation's appetite for energy devastates Native lands with dirty energy developments that destroy the entire web of life. The artists' collective works articulate a broad view -- of the dark realities of dirty energy and of the hopeful vision for tribal wind and solar power."

By bringing Native art and resistance into the spectrum of mainstream fine arts and culture, Impacted Nations includes the voices of the most vocal and passionate communicators: the fine contemporary and traditional art of Native peoples who live in remote villages, reservation towns, border communities, and urban centers. Antoine explains, "Impacted Nations encourages Native nations to be leaders in developing the alternative energy resources so abundantly provided.  It urges us all to be true
caretakers of mother earth.  Hear us, we are sending a voice."

New York City is a huge energy market.  In the 1980s and 1990s, Cree communities pleaded with the New York Power Authority as a part of the James Bay II struggle to stop a huge dam project in northern Quebec. After a heated battle, that dam project was "put on ice" by Hydro Quebec, and the tenacious activists were able to rest for a short while. New dam
projects, however, continue to emerge.    As New York City's consumption has not diminished, Impacted Nations will focus on the impact of energy in the Northeast and the potential for renewable energy and conservation.

After New York City, Impacted Nations will travel across the United States to proposed cities such as Minneapolis, MN and Santa Fe, NM. In addition, we intend to exhibit in reservation communities that have been affected firsthand by the deadly legacy of energy development on their communities by energy development.  These same communities are also the places where a vision of an alternative energy future is growing and becoming a reality.

Native reservations in the Great Plains possess the wind energy potential for over one-half of United States electrical capacity, which is estimated to be 600-gigawatts.   These tribal communities also represent, in the words of Robert Gough from the Intertribal Council On Utility Policy, the "head winds" for the regional "windshed." In other words, the prevailing winds from the region largely move to the east into the area of greatest United States energy usage - the East Coast.

Honor the Earth's work is founded on the premise that the key resources lacking in the Native environmental movement are money and political allies. Ten years ago, Honor the Earth, with musicians like Bonnie Raitt, the Indigo Girls, and Exene Cervenka, set out to create and direct these resources to Native communities with a strategy to build an informed
constituency able to take action in support of grassroots environmental justice and cultural survival issues. The organization has raised over one millions dollars for front-line grassroots organizing, and worked with tribes to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol and create renewable energy programs.

To view the exhibit at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, please call Karen Garrett at 212-787-7300, ext. 206. The only times available for viewing are Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm.
 

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