Indigenous Peoples’ Day activities to build awareness at KU

LAWRENCE — Several University of Kansas organizations and offices have partnered to observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day through a program featuring a renowned Cherokee Nation scholar reflecting on representation of Native cultures on college campuses.

Adrienne Keene
Adrienne Keene

“Representations Matter: Serving Native Students in Higher Education,” featuring Adrienne Keene, of Cherokee Nation, will be a Zoom program at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12. The program is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Keene, assistant professor of American studies and ethnic studies at Brown University, will discuss the experience of Native students in higher education, using her own experiences at Stanford University dealing with mascots and misrepresentations, while providing context and statistics about the invisibility of Native students in college spaces.

She is a Native scholar, writer, blogger and activist who is working to reframe 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.

Keene’s research areas include college access, transition and persistence for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students, including the role of pre-college access programs in student success. Additionally, she examines representations of Native peoples in popular culture, Native cultural appropriation in fashion and design, and the ways that Indigenous peoples are using the internet, social media and new media to challenge misrepresentations and create new and innovative spaces for art and activism.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Native American studies and cultural anthropology from Stanford University and her doctorate in culture, communities and education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has been awarded several honors and fellowships, including the Harvard University Presidential Scholarship, the National Academy of Education Spencer Dissertation Fellowship and the NAEd Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Register for the program at online. Anyone who needs accommodations to participate fully is encouraged to email

The event is co-sponsored by KU First Nations Student Association; Native Faculty and Staff Council; Indigenous Studies Program; Office of Diversity & Equity; Office of Multicultural Affairs; College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; KU Libraries; Spencer Museum of Art; Office of Admissions and Lied Center of Kansas.

In addition to Keene’s public presentation, the Lied Center is hosting a private workshop as part of Indigenous People’s Day celebrations.

The multiday Indigenous Arts Initiative Workshop will run Oct. 14-17 at the Lied Center. This event will host master Indigenous artist Dana Warrington, who will work with 10 local Native artisans on the skill of quilling. Warrington is an enrolled member of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi of Kansas and grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin. Warrington is a traditional artist and started beading when he was a child. He later picked up quillwork. Today, his many media include beadwork, quillwork, bustle-making, moccasins and cradleboards.

A partnership between the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, KU Department of Film & Media Studies, the Spencer Museum of Art and the Lied Center, and the Indigenous Arts Initiative supports a rotating series of Indigenous art workshops that provide Indigenous artists the opportunity to hone their creative skills and expand their professional networks. This workshop was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and will follow all COVID-19 protocols in place.

Fri, 10/09/2020


Jill Hummels

Media Contacts

Jill Hummels

Office of the Provost