Adrienne Keene


Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) is a Native scholar, writer, blogger, and activist, and is passionate about reframing how the world sees contemporary Native cultures. She is the creator and author of Native Appropriations, a blog discussing cultural appropriation and stereotypes of Native peoples in fashion, film, music, and other forms of pop culture.

Through her writing and activism, Keene questions and problematizes the ways Indigenous peoples are represented, asking for celebrities, large corporations, and designers to consider the ways they incorporate “Native” elements into their work. She is very interested in the way Native peoples are using social and new media to challenge misrepresentations and present counter-narratives that showcase true Native cultures and identities.

Her blog work has been nominated for the Women’s Media Center Social Media Award (2011), as well as featured in many mainstream media outlets.

Adrienne holds a doctorate in Culture, Communities, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on college access for Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian) students and the role of precollege access programs in student success. She has worked closely with a non-profit called College Horizons, which assists Native students in the college application process — as a participant, alumna, faculty member, and now researcher.

Her dissertation, entitled “College Pride, Native Pride” and Education for Nation Building: Portraits of Native Students Navigating Freshman Year, is a portraiture study (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1998) that follows four alumni of College Horizons in their transition to college.

Adrienne has presented at colleges and universities nationwide as well as at numerous conferences. Most recently, she was a keynote at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education – NCORE 2015. She is comfortable speaking on topics related to both of her areas of interest—cultural appropriation and representations, as well as Native students’ experiences in the college process.

Many higher education institutions were built on colonized lands and using the labor of indigenous peoples. However, the system of higher education around the world is marginalizing the same indigenous cultures and peoples that has given rise to this type of education.  Attendees at ACPA18 will be able to learn more from Dr. Keene and other presenters how this cultural appropriate transpires, its impact on native peoples and students, and how we can dismantle the structure of colonization within and beyond education.