What You Need to Know About Adrienne Keene

Get ready for Critical Social Justice: Rise with our “What You Need to Know” series, starting with this introduction to our keynote speaker, Dr. Adrienne Keene! Her lecture, titled “Native Appropriations and Indigenous Social Media” will be held on Tuesday, October 24th at 6 PM in the University Center Ballroom (event details here). Written by Women’s Center student staff member Samiksha Manjiani.

As you grow up, I promise to protect you. I promise to continue to fight as hard as I possibly can to ensure a future for you. To protect you water, your sacred land, and your sovereignty. Whatever your future gender identity or who you choose to love, I will make sure you can be who are meant to be.

— Adrienne Keene, “Dear little one on your Birthday”


Our keynote speaker for CSJ: Rise is Adrienne Keene, a Native American activist, blogger, scholar, and writer. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Keene focuses on contemporary indigenous issues, and critically analyzes how the indigenous world is represented in popular culture. She often writes about cultural appropriation in fashion, music, and stereotyping in film and other media.

Adrienne is also an accomplished assistant professor for the American Studies Department at Brown University. She teaches courses on Indigenous Education, Native representations, and Native American Studies in general. In addition to teaching, she has a deep personal commitment towards empowering Native communities and privileging Native voices and perspectives in her research. Adrienne’s research focuses on educational outcomes for Native American students.

Adrienne’s blog, Native Appropriations, has achieved national and international recognition for its authentic and critical Native voice on contemporary indigenous issues. She uses her blog to challenge stereotypes and misrepresentations of Native Peoples.  Some hot topics include the Washington football team’s continued use of an ethnic slur for their team name, “hipster headdresses,” Halloween “Pocahottie” costumes, and Urban Outfitters’ appropriation of tribal art and culture.

Most recently, Adrienne has been actively raising awareness and advocating with other activists around Standing Rock, ND and the movement against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. As you may know, the current administration has given the final green light to continue building the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline, but the activism around this issue has not ended. In fact, it has incited more people to rise up. Check out her guest appearance on Buzzfeed podcast Another Round for more information. She is also in the process of writing new pieces about Standing Rock, so check out her Twitter @NativeApprops to stay updated!

For more about Adrienne, check out:

Her blog: Native Appropriations

Her interview with Brown University on Native Misrepresentation

Her blogpost on “Questions Natives have for White People and White Fragility:”

Her Buzzfeed video, “9 Questions Native Ameicans have for White People”

Her Buzzfeed video, “I’m Native, but I’m not”

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Critical Social Justice: Rise — October 23rd – 27th!

Over the past year, acts of resistance and resilience have electrified our country and world. Immediate images that flash through our minds include the water protectors at Standing Rock, the millions around the world who participated in the Women’s March,  those who rushed to the airports to volunteer translation and legal assistance to immigrants and refugees in the immediate aftermath of the travel ban.

As these images of mass protests and large-scale actions capture our attention, we also recognize the power of everyday acts of resistance. Social justice movements have been infused with a renewed sense of urgency, and for an ever-growing number of people, there is the will to be counted, to find voice, and to rise up.

While many are new to the struggle, the struggle itself is not new. We’re reminded by those who have long been active in these movements that the fight for justice is neither in its first breaths nor last gasps.

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For the fifth annual Critical Social Justice, we’ll explore opportunities for building individual and collective resistance and resilience. Events throughout the week will challenge us to think about how we can do better, do more, and persist in doing it. How do we rise to meet the challenges of this particular cultural moment to work toward a vision of inclusive excellence—whether it’s in the classroom, online, or in our communities?

Adrienne Keene PhotoWe’re excited to announce that our keynote speaker will be Native scholar and activist Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), who writes about cultural appropriation and stereotypes of Native peoples in pop culture on her blog Native Appropriations. Keene examines the way Indigenous peoples are using new media to challenge racism, present authentic counter-narratives, and create innovative spaces for art and activism. The keynote lecture and reception will be held on Tuesday, October 24th at 6pm in the UC Ballroom.

Critical Social Justice: Rise will be held on October 23rd through 27th, 2017. Follow our blog, Facebook, and Twitter (#csjrise) for updates on scheduled events and other news. For more information about the Critical Social Justice initiative, or if you’re organizing a related event that week that might be included on the CSJ calendar, please email womenscenter@umbc.edu.

Critical Social Justice is a Women’s Center initiative with The Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity.