The Creative Enterprise by Natives delivering to all people the stories that shape our world is the longest-running Native Women-Led Indigenous Media Arts and Cultural non-profit enterprise in the history of the entertainment industry.

Natives in Charge of Their Narrative

RNCI History


Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI) was established out of a direct need.  RNCI has its roots in Santa Fe, New Mexico, produced during the famous Indian Market (1995 to 1997); RNCI pioneered the native contemporary music movement during Indian Market. In 1995 there wasn’t any contemporary American Indian music being performed during Indian Market. RNCI was supported by SWAIA under the leadership of Don Owen.

Due to Red Nation Celebration Institute’ growth over the last 20 years, Red Nation Celebration “Concert Series” has become the organization’s “signature” event.

In 1998, Red Nation moved to Los Angeles and began producing Red Nation Celebration “Concert Series”  during the most important weeks of the music industry “The Grammy Awards Week.” In 2003, Red Nation Celebration “Concert Series” became an “Official Grammy Event”.

In 2005, Red Nation launched the music scene on the Plaza during Indian Market week-end in Santa Fe NM and now native music is being performed on the plaza. That same year RNCI honored SWAIA board members with a Red Nation Honor Drum.

In 2005, Red Nation Celebration Institute founded American Indian Heritage Month in the City/County of Los Angeles.  In 2006 AIHM was officially recognized by the State of California and the City/County of Los Angeles.

In 2008, Red Nation Celebration Institute initiated American Indian Heritage Month in the State of New Mexico with the support of Gov. Bill Richardson and The Dept. of Indian Affairs.

RNCI produces “Red Nation Film Festival – On the Road” since 2009.  That year, RNCI brought to Indian Market “Red is Green Carpet Gala‘ never before had there been a Red Carpet event during Indian market.   In addition in 2009, Red Nation created the *Red Nation Film Award* and tapped New Mexico sculptor artist Phillip Mangas Haozous son of the late apache sculptor artist Allan Houser to design “The Red Nation Statuette”, which was unveiled during Red Nation Film Festival “On the Road” in Santa Fe during Indian Market and created for RNCI Red Nation Awards held in Los Angeles in November, annually.

In 2010, RNCI produced “A Native Coachella“, featuring 10 American Indian & Indigenous bands during Indian Market in Santa Fe NM.

Due to Red Nation’s vision, contemporary native music is being heard throughout Indian Market. Red Nation inspired this music movement and now audiences can experience native music almost anywhere. Red Nation’s success is a revolution and presentation of Native music from all over Indian Country from within the communities urban to reservations. Red Nation was recognized as a groundbreaking concept and became a widely publicized event of national stature. Red Nation has successfully featured American Indian recording artists, Grammy winners and nominees, and has been a launching pad for numerous American Indian musicians who have been signed to labels since performing at Red Nation’s concerts over the last 20 years.

Red Nation Celebration Institute is Celebrating its 20th Anniversary during Indian Market week August 18-21, 2016, Santa Fe, New Mexico.  “Red Nation Celebration “Concert Series & Film Festival” is a celebration of live performing arts , representing American Indian & Indigenous music, actors, writers, directors, producers, and visual artists.

Now in its 20th year in Los Angeles, “Red Nation Celebration Concert Series” held annually during the world’s most recognized and important weeks of the music industry “The Grammy Awards Week” continues to produce “A Night of American Indian & Indigenous Music in February, annually.


NATIVE WOMEN in MUSIC Concert Series, since its inception in 1996, with five major “Native Women in Music” concerts under its belt – Native Women in Music has become a MUSIC MOVEMENT. “We are not on main stream radio nor prime time television yet” said Romero (founder), “Its time for change and that change is now.”

The first “Native Women in Music” Concert Series was acknowledged by Mayor Debbie Jaramillo 1996 – City of Santa Fe Mayor Debbie Jaramillo Proclamation of “Native American Women’s Day in Santa Fe” – August 17, 1996.

Two years after “Native Women in Music” was launched, Sarah McLaughlin of the world’s famous “Lilith Fair Tour” asked Romero to join her all women tour in 1998. Romero represented the American Indian voice and was the only American Indian recording artist to perform that year along with Sinead O’Connor, the Indigo Girls and Natalie Merchant; first all female tour.

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Michael Jackson a childhood friend of Joanelle Romero, since they were 10 years old, Jackson became the leading force in making Romero’s company known to the world. MJ helped launch her production company in 1991, which led to the initiative of “Native Youth Matter” If I Can See It I Can Be It and later to become a program of Red Nation Celebration Institute. Due to JACKSON’S insight, he added her newly founded production company (1991) and shared the press in Entertainment Weekly.

It is now an award-winning production company in producing American Indian documentaries and independent films, which is under parent org RED NATION CELEBRATION INSTITUTE.

The 1991 “Black or White” music video and song made history. ROMERO was instrumental in bringing American Indian dancers to JACKSON’S music video. ROMERO was able to negotiate for the American Indian dancers to be paid over and above any dancers on any music video ever, due to the fact they were traditionally dressed (the wardrobe did not come from western costume). To date, they are the highest paid dancers in the music video industry. Also, this segment was the first clip of American Indian dancers in a music video without being a Native American music group/artist.

JACKSON also shot seven hours of photos of ROMERO’S daughter “Sage” while shooting his video and used SAGE’S image for his painted angels in his Neverland Ranch.

The American Indian segment of the native dancers was originally shot in the studio, after reading one of ROMERO’S music video scripts, one week later the American Indian Dance segment was re-shot on location out-side.

“Michael was precious, kind and humble. He carried a light that shined so bright. His music was a gift to the world and that is why he was brought here. I was blessed to have known Michael and I can not stop crying, my heart is forever broken.” said Joanelle Romero.”


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