top of page

Our Knowledge is Power: The Cultures of Beauty and Survival in
Isle de Jean Charles, LA and Shishmaref, AK

A midsummer breeze blows the spanish moss as the coffee brews in preparations for an afternoon visit on the porch of Tribal elder Wenceslaus Billiot, Sr. As we sit discussing the days before erosion and roads, he motions to an area of water that was once prime real estate for fur trapping.  The memories of the past brighten the face of the ninety-year-old elder.  In Alaska, another section of land has fallen into the sea as the permafrost and sand below deteriorates. Another pot of coffee as people discuss the road that fell into the water during the last storm; and talk about when the ice will freeze for travel over the ocean. Both communities slipping into the water; both communities holding onto their lifeways and traditions. 


Artist Dennis Davis and Chantel Comardelle have partnered together to bring us a multimedia exhibit showcasing the beauty of culture and the price of the climate crisis. The stunning images will introduce you to their communities and sacred traditions. The voice of elders and stories of seasons past will transport you to a time when life was less complex . The turbulent and unjust events of climate and environmental crisis will invoke inward reflection on your future choices.

Hundreds of journalists have photographed and written about life in Isle de Jean Charles and Shishmaref, Alaska – but none has shown the whole heart of the story. Along with homes falling in the ocean, and roads covered in water, this exhibit captures the love, warmth, power, knowledge and genius of Indigenous lifeways, of living with the environment in sustainable relations, while showing simultaneously the struggle of adapting to a

quickly changing environment and a political world that cannot cope with these changes.

For more information regarding the upcoming Exhibit please contact Chantel Comardelle @

bottom of page