Symposium Speakers

2020 Symposium Keynote Speaker Bios

Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) – Sponsored by Oklahoma Humanities

Trahant serves as editor of Indian Country Today, he is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, and a former president of the Native American Journalists Association.  Trahant has also served as a professor at the University of North Dakota, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Idaho and the University of Colorado.  He does a weekly audio commentary for Native Voice One.  He is also chair of the board of directors for Vision Maker Media, an organization that works with Native producers to develop, produce and distribute educational telecommunications programs for all media including public television and public radio.  In 2018, Trahant was honored with the 2018 Native American Journalists Association Richard LaCourse Award.

Adrienne Keene (Cherokee) – Sponsored by Oklahoma Humanities Council

Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) is a Native scholar, writer, and blogger and is passionate about reframing how the world sees contemporary Native cultures. She is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. Her 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. 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, Keene discusses the ways Indigenous peoples are represented. 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.

B. Kainoa Embernate (ʻŌiwi Hawaiʻi) – Sponsored by Oklahoma Humanities Council

B. Kainoa Embernate is an ʻŌiwi Hawaiʻi born in Hilo and raised along the Hāmākua coast of Hawaiʻi Island. He acknowledges his  kūpuna whose genealogical ties are in Kohala, Portugal, Mexico, Japan and the Philippines. Raised in a multi-ethnic pastoralist/agriculturalist community, Kainoa did not ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi as a first language. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Hawaiian Studies, a Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education certification, and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Language and Culture Education from Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. He taught for the ʻAha Pūnana Leo non-profit organization, Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Hawaiian medium laboratory school, and lectured at his alma mater.  Kainoa is currently a Ph.D student in Instructional Design for Online Learning at Capella University. As an independent scholar-practitioner, he aims to disrupt negative ideologies that endanger ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. As a current guest resident on Lenapehoking territory of the Indigenous Lenape people, Kainoa dedicates his time and energy developing Indigenous Hawaiian scholarly work and practical applications.  On September 12, 2016, Kainoa founded Hālau ʻŌlelo, an online learning school for the Hawaiian Language. This school serves as a platform for modern and mobile use and revitalization of the language, while connecting users to the past, present, and future wherever they go.