Joanelle Romero
Founder President CEO

Joanelle is a citizen of Mescalero-Chiricahua Apache, Dinétah, Paiute Nations and is SpanishSephardic. A relative of Pawnee, Pojoaque, Southern Ute, Haudenosaunee and Lakota. Joanelle’s father was born on the Jicarilla Reservation and her great-grandma her grandpa’s mother from her mother’s side was born on the Mescalero reservation. 

Joanelle Romero Founder President CEO Native-led enterprise Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI), the pioneer longest standing Native Arts & Cultural non-profit organization in The City of Los Angeles, founded in Santa Fe NM 1995. 

Under the parent RNCI organization, Joanelle with more than 42 years curating Native films, established the largest and first Native Film Festival in Los Angeles RED NATION INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (RNIFF) The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema. Held in the month of November for fifteen executive days. RNIFF concludes with RNCI RED NATION AWARDS recognizing excellence in film, television and media.

She established Native Women in Film & Television Resource Center and Native Women In FILM Festival, held during the Oscar week.  At a time in history when Missing and Murdered Native Women and the lack of inclusion of Native Women in film and television were not being heard in media or seen, on January 7, 2018 Joanelle coined #WhyWeWearRED through Native Women in FILM. This Call to Action launched a movement within Indian Country. 

In 2006, Joanelle founded and is Owner/CEO of RED NATION TELEVISION NETWORK, the first Global online streaming entertainment media company distributed TV Channel exclusively devoted to American Indian and World Indigenous content. With more than 42 years’ experience in the entertainment industry, Joanelle has established RED NATION TV as a successful film distributor and is recognized in the industry as an innovator in film acquisition and distribution dedicated to Native Cinema.  Joanelle manages the company’s content acquisition through relationships with studios, networks, filmmakers and producers. The RED NATION TELEVISION NETWORK library has increased from 100 to 1000 titles and still growing on DVD and Joanelle produces original content for Red Nation TV all available to watch instantly on the computer and the TV.  RED NATION TV offers an alternate distribution method in providing the broadest variety of films from the Native perspective for consumers that might not otherwise be seen.

2019, Joanelle launched the first ‘Monthly Film Series’ dedicated to Native Cinema held once a month in partnership with Lumiere Music Hall. In the history of the entertainment industry there has never been a venue dedicated to Native Cinema on the big screen.  

Joanelle began her long and impressive career as a actress, starring in the first Contemporary American Indian Women’s Story ever producer in 1977 “The Girl Called Hatter Fox” to 1989 Sundance award winning film and cult classic Pow Wow Highway, the film that paved the way for contemporary native filmmaking. 

As a filmmaker Joanelle’s film AMERICAN HOLOCAUST: WHEN ITS ALL OVER I’LL STILL BE INDIAN made the Academy’s Documentary Branch and was shortlisted for an Oscar in a preliminary round of voting in 2000.  Joanelle is the only Native filmmaker to be short-listed in the Documentary Branch. Joanelle is the first American Indian to receive an humanitarian award the Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award given to projects that have “the vision to see the truth and the courage to speak it.” 

Joanelle inspired by her mother who was featured in several Elvis Presley films and Joanelle’s relative Congressman Edward R Roybal, standing on their shoulders founded in 2005 the American Indian Heritage Month in the City of Los Angeles and was officially recognized in 2006 by The State of California.

Joanelle is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. A SAG-AFTRA member since 1977, a former SAG-EEOC committee member from 1998 to 2001 and for many years was the only American Indian representing the native voice to the union. At SAG-AFTRA she produced panels “Where Are We (Native Americans) in Film, Television and Radio” (2000) and “Native Women in Film & Television“(2012). Joanelle is also a singer/songwriter discovered by the Legendary Leonard Cohen. She was the first artist that Cohen produced in 1978 at A & M Records. Joanelle lives in Los Angeles and Santa Fe New Mexico, has two young adults and two grandchildren. 


Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI) 

Linda Tenequer – Chair
Muscogee Creek Nation. Writer/Fortune 500.

Susan Masten
Yurok Nation. Founder & co-president of Women Empowering Women for Indigenous Nations. Has served as the past Yurok Tribal Chair, Vice Chair, Yurok Interim Council member, and Yurok Transition Team Member. She also served as the second woman to ever be elected by Tribal governments across the nation as President of the National Congress of American Indians the oldest and largest national American Indian organization. Masten a rights advocate has been fighting for fishing and water rights and sovereignty for the past 40 years. 

Teri Red Owl
Bishop Paiute Tribe. Nuumu from Payahuunadu – land of the flowing water. Executive Director at Owens Valley Indian Water Commission. Studied Business at Western Governors University. Co-Produced Award-winning film PAYA THE WATER STORY OF THE PAIUTE.

Jacqueline A Garcia
Indigenous. Executive Film Producer: The Condor and The Eagle. Jacqueline grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in the Bay Area. In 2010, she co-founded and served on the board of The Luna Park Arts Foundation in San Jose which promotes the arts in local public schools and youth organizations through the awarding of grants and has been involved in fundraising and philanthropy for a number of years. Most recently she consulted for The Human Rights Campaign in D.C. and is an advocate for the homeless population in Santa Clara County. Jacqueline sits on numerous non-profit boards and is passionate about social and environmental justice initiatives and creating environments that value inclusivity and equity, especially as they pertain to education.

Julia Bogany
Tongva Nation. Cultural Consultant. Tribal Councilmember. Teacher of language and basket making.

Aubrey Hicks
Executive Director at USC;  USC Price Sol Price School of Public Policy | Bedrosian Center

Elizabeth Kucinich
Government affairs, policy and partnerships professional, Documentary Producer, and wife of Former US Representative from Ohio Dennis Kucinich.

Shari Belafonte
Haudenosaunee on mothers side and Taino on fathers side. Actress, Model, Writer, Singer. 

Theda Newbreast
Blackfeet Nation. Master Trainer Native Wellness Institute.

A Martinez
Mexican and Apache on his father’s side, Piegan Blackfeet and Northern European on his mother’s. Actor and writer, known for Longmire (2012), Santa Barbara (1984) and Powwow Highway (1989).

Paul Audley
President of Film L.A. Inc. Audley, has been Arizona state director of the Trust for Public Land and has an extensive background in community-based nonprofit organizations and government, including having served as Mayor of Fairfield, Conn., and deputy secretary of State in Connecticut.

Edward James Olmos
Indigenous. Academy Award Nominee, Actor, Battlestar Galactica, Lieutenant Martin “Marty” Castillo in Miami Vice, teacher Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, patriarch Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. in the film Selena, Detective Gaff in Blade Runner, and narrator El Pachuco in both the stage and film versions of Zoot Suit. In 1988, Olmos was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the film Stand and Deliver.

Tokala Clifford
Oglala Lakota Actor. known for Wind River (2017).

Michael O’Keefe
Golden Globe Award Winner, Academy Award Nominee, Actor.



Chief Oren Lyons
Faithkeeper of the turtle clan of the Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Chief Leonard Crow Dog
Lakota Medicine man, Spiritual leader, Spiritual intercessor, and story teller of Lakota tribe in Rosebud Indian. Reservation in South Dakota of Turtle Island.

LaDonna Harris
Comanche has devoted her life to building coalitions that create change. She has been a consistent and ardent advocate on behalf of Tribal America. In addition, she continues her activism in the areas of civil rights, environmental protection, the women’s movement and world peace.

Esai Morales
Indigenous. Actor “La Bamba” and “My Family/Mi Familia”, as well as television series like “Chicago PD,” “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” and “Ozark.”

Dan Aykroyd
Actor, Producer, Blues Brother.

John Bryant
Founder, Chairman, CEO of Operation Hope and Vice Chairman U.S. former President Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, Washington D.C. 

Sage Galesi
Apache, Dinétah, Paiute Nations, SpanishSephardic and Italian. A relative of Pawnee, Pojoaque, Southern Ute and Iroquois. Sage’s grandfather was born on the Jicarilla Reservation and her great-great-grandma from her mother’s side was born on the Mescalero reservation. Sage a former board member of Red Nation Celebration Institute, held for 14 yrs. Sage is a Graduate of Yale University 2008. A mother of two. 

Montano Rain
Apache, Dinétah, Paiute Nations, SpanishSephardic. A relative of Pawnee, Pojoaque, Southern Ute and Iroquois. Rain’s grandfather was born on the Jicarilla Reservation and his great-great-grandma from her mother’s side was born on the Mescalero reservation. Rain a former board member of Red Nation Celebration Institute, held for 10yrs. Music Manager, Musician, Environmental Activist, Founder of Help the Earth.


Dr. Joel Silbar
Silbar Chiropractic.

Lisa Tiger
Muscogee/Creek/Seminole/Cherokee/Irish descent Santa Fe New Mexico. HIV/AIDS educator and motivational speaker. Lisa has been doing AIDS education since learning she was infected with the virus in 1992.

Larry Sellers
Lakota/Osage Nations (Tulsa, OK) Traditional ceremonial leader and actor who played the leading Indian role Cloud Dancing in the popular series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

Native Women in Film & Television (NWIFT)


National Resource Indigenous Women Center

University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy

University of Southern California Bedrosian Center on Governance

Why We Wear RED 

Native Women in FILM 

Tewa Women United

Rematriation Magazine

Joanne Shenandoah

Yakama Nation

Indigenous Concepts Consulting


Russell Means Oglala Sioux Actor/Activist. RNCI board member

Chief Crazy Bull Oglala Sioux RNCI Advisory board member

Edward Albert Jr Mexican Actor  RNCI board member

– August Schellenberg Mohawk Actor RNCI board member

Pete Catches Lakota is the descendant of 37 generations of medicine men, is recognized as the Keeper of the Spotted Eagle Way medicine. RNCI board member

Becky Akins MA Mohawk Nation Tucson AZ. – Nicotrigo, LLC./Grant-writer for Native Americans.


Former Board Members

Dr. Anthony Stately Ph. D. former AIDS Project LA.


© Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI)
501(c)(3) Nonprofit Enterprise


Support the Native Narrative

Creating Systemic Change through the Arts

Give Today