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We regret that the Henry Madden Library Womack Lecture scheduled for Thursday, March 26, 2020 has been canceled. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we are following evolving guidance from the CSU Chancellor’s Office and Fresno State, as well as state and local public health agencies.

Given that many people are concerned about attending large gatherings right now, we felt it was prudent to cancel the event.

Thank you for your understanding and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Cultural appropriation, or the inappropriate use of meaningful items and symbols from historically disenfranchised groups where there is an imbalance of power, continues to be a polarizing issue within popular art, fashion, and design. For Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), the “Hipster Headdress” often worn by participants at festivals and events is a personal and political problem. 

“When I, as a native person, walk into a store and see racks and racks of products featuring decontextualized ‘native’ designs,” writes Keene in the New York Times, “with no connection to their communities that have protected and held these cultural markers for centuries, I can’t help but think of [Native] history, and wonder when we will have the power to control our own culture.”

Keene will present “The Strange Case of the Hipster Headdress: Reclaiming Indigenous Representations” as the Henry Madden Library’s Womack Lecture on Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in the Library’s Table Mountain Rancheria Reading Room. 

Starting as a graduate student blogger over ten years ago (, Keene’s lecture will also address how Native peoples have harnessed the power of storytelling through social media to challenge cultural appropriation and stereotypical representation. 

Through her writing, scholarship, and activism, Keene questions the ways Indigenous peoples are represented, asking for celebrities, large corporations, designers and everyday people to consider the ways they incorporate Native elements into their world. 

Dr. Keene’s visit coincides with the Native American Women in Leadership Summit hosted by the American Indian Studies Program and Women’s Studies Program in which she will participate in a panel discussion about Native American issues and communities. The Summit will also take place in the Table Mountain Reading Room on March 26th at 1:30 p.m.

The Womack Lecture is sponsored by the J. Prentice Womack fund, established by the late Rhoda Womack, in honor of her husband, who was a librarian at the Henry Madden Library from 1958 to 1970. The annual Womack lectures are focused on issues of a bibliographic nature or on social concerns, as stipulated by the family’s bequest to the Library.

For information or special accommodation for the Library’s Womack Lecture, please call Library administration at 559.278.2403. 

Written by Heather Parish

Henry Madden Library

Photo used by permission of Adrienne Keene