RED NATION
CELEBRATION
INSTITUTE

Natives in Charge of Their Narrative

RNCI / Sacred Water of Life Ceremony

Robert Dorame of the Gabrielino/Tongva Nation reached out to Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI) CEO/founder/president Joanelle Romero back in 2007, asking for help. At that time Red Nation Celebration Institute’s program the Red Nation International Film Festival was holding their annual The Sacred Water of Life Ceremony at Playa Vista’ during the month of November in Celebration of American Indian Heritage Month. RNCI was working closely with then late Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and had invited him to participle in the ceremony. Once Councilmember Bill Rosendahl was in attendance, Joanelle Romero put him on the spot and asked ‘Will you please assist in helping our Gabrielino/Tongva nation in getting their ancestors remains returned. Joanelle and Bill shook hands and the rest is history.

The Gabrielino/Tongva Nation and Robert Dorame asked for help because at that point they were having a difficult time in achieving this. About 75 people gathered that day for The Sacred Water of Life Ceremony. It was a beautiful day of healing. It was raining that day and everyone was calling the office asking is ceremony still on? “Yes it is”, stated Joanelle Romero, “Once ceremony is called we show up no matter what.” While the ceremony was happening it stopped raining and a beautiful rainbow appeared. #PrayersAnswered

We are so deeply grateful that Robert Dorame Gabrielino/Tongva Nation reached out to us and we were able to assist in returning their ancestors. It took many years and many people over the years however sometimes it takes just one more step, one more prayer, one more ask, many working togther for the common good for all to make it happen.

Joanelle Romero

The remains included 88 infants, 152 children, 69 teenagers and 477 adults. and were estimated to be buried as early as 3,500 years B.C.