Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates: The Mississippi River Valley, Colonialism, and Environmental Change

Project: Research project

Project Details


This proposal seeks funding to create a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project to study
Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates. Faculty and graduate students will combine
disciplinary expertise and site resources to study the Mississippi River Valley as a bellwether of
changing climates, which Indigenous art and activism harnesses and contests. We focus both on environmental change along the river valley and on changing climates of colonialism, the
shifting racial, economic, political, and intellectual climates that have attempted to justify claims
to the river valley and re-engineer its flows. Amidst these changing climates, the river valley’s
Indigenous people create art and resistance that engages the river; they exert their continued
rights to their homelands, settlers’ claims to land and water and efforts at removal
We propose to follow the river and its flows of goods, information, people, and pollutants
to study the art and activism with which Indigenous people confront life in the midst of but not
defined by changing climates. Collaborative, embodied research is central to our work, which
seeks not simply to reproduce participant expertise but to generate new intellectual frameworks
and areas of study. We propose three meetings, held along the river valley, and a concluding
symposium and edited collection. Project advisors and consultants will lead activities on
methodologies for studying changing climates and their import for Indigenous art and activism.
We will work with graduate students as equal partners and share our research with
Effective start/end date1/1/1812/31/20


  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (079528-16845 // 41500610)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (079528-16845 // 41500610)


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