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Dr. Adrienne Keene on Cultural Appropriations, Indigenous Social Media and Responding to Racism

The Northeastern community welcomed Dr. Adrienne Keene, Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow affiliated with the Department of Anthropology & the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University for a public lecture on January 31, 2017 at Northeastern Crossing. Dr. Keene (Cherokee Nation) is a Native scholar, writer, blogger and activist, who is passionate about reframing how the world sees contemporary Native cultures.

Dr. Keene’s talk was well-attended with around 150 guests from Northeastern’s campus as well as local community members. Her presentation included a historical overview of Native rights and how history has shaped contemporary native culture. Dr. Keene shared her experiences in using social media as a tool to leverage social justice for Native causes. She started her own blog, “Native Appropriations”, during her time as a graduate student at Harvard University and presented some of her earlier writings on how celebrities and companies appropriate Native culture and symbols. Today her activism is largely through her twitter account where she shares important information and her own thoughts on issues that need immediate attention like the Dakota Access Pipeline that directly affects the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She is also supportive of other social movements, like the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter, and believes that indigenous communities need to be incorporated in those movements as well. While some of the rhetoric in these movements can be misplaced, a way to overcome that is to start with a discussion on the theory of stolen space. Ultimately, Dr. Keene’s message is that Native peoples are often ignored in conversations about race or anti-racist work and social justice activism, and a way to move forward is to start having conversations that recognize the history of Native cultures and Native peoples.

Dr. Keene also conducted a workshop on Native activism for students on February 1, 2017: http://huntnewsnu.com/2017/02/workshop-on-native-activism-kicks-off-boston-series/

Both events were organized by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion in collaboration with the CSSH CSDI Advisory Council; University Scholars; Social Justice Resource Center; The Humanities Center and Northeastern Crossing.

Published On: February 27, 2017 |
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