2007 Honorees

Joanelle RomeroJoanelle Romero
(1957)

Launched Red Nation Media Internet and Television Channel 

Joanelle Romero, humanitarian, filmmaker, actress, recording artist/singer/songwriter, in 2006 launched Red Nation Media Internet and Television Channel with all Native programming.  Her accomplishments as a pioneer in film, television, non-profit organizations, educator, philanthropist, producer, director, have established her as one of the most respected and admired public figures today.  Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico of Apache/Cheyenne, Jewish and Spanish descent, Romero was raised in Los Angeles on a variety of TV and movie sets, where she learned her craft.

As an actress, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, producer and filmmaker of American Indian performing arts including programming on her Red Nation Media Network Channel, she has entertained, inspired, moderated, enlightened the general public for the almost 3 decades. Using media as a primary tool, Romero has created a connection within Indian Country; including the film, television, music industries and to people around the world.

In 1991, Romero founded Spirit World Productions, as she saw a need for American Indian people to tell their own stories in television, film, and music. Spirit World Productions continues to American Indian films, pilots, and music, giving voices to those who would otherwise remain unheard.  Through her company’s film division Spirit World Productions, Romero has become an award-winning American Indian documentary filmmaker & drama series producer.

In 2000, Spirit World Productions released the internationally critically acclaimed Award –Winning documentary film American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be.Indian  Narrated by Ed Anser.  This film has the last footage shot of the Late Grandpa Wallace Black Elk and Former Chairwoman Mildred Clayhorn of the Ft. Sill Apache Nation.  Romero directed, produced, wrote, and scored the music for this controversial and groundbreaking film.  This documentary is the first and only film that compares Hitler’s attempted genocide of German Jews with the U.S. government’s treatment of American Indians and the lasting effects on the culture today.

To provide multiple, ongoing avenues for the exploration and presentation of contemporary and traditional American Indian performing arts, in 1995, Romero founded the non-profit organization, Red Nation Celebration (RNC). This organization premieres contemporary and traditional American Indian performing arts of diverse artistic disciplines to the mainstream media and to the global communities with the goal of encouraging understanding of the cultural traditions, performing arts, community and the advancement of indigenous nations.  Additionally, RNC educates the public on aspects of American Indian cultural and artistic expression; educates and informs the music and film industries on new talent within the American Indian community; provides youth with educational and vocational opportunities related to the music and entertainment industry; and introduces American Indian artists to larger, global mainstream audiences. 

In 2005 she received the Armin T. Wegner “Humanitarian” Award for the vision to see the truth…and the courage to speak it.

Continuing her on-going work to ensure that the culture, traditions, and history of American Indians would be recognized and celebrate, Romero initiated the first annual American Indian Heritage Month with the City of Los Angeles in November 2006 and she was named "The First Lady" of American Indian Heritage Month by American Indian Spiritual Leaders.

www.RedNation.com