Now Your Know – Mini Bio


As you are aware there are not very many films written for native women to star in. I have a long career as an actor; I starred in the 1989 critically acclaimed George Harrison film, a Sundance award winner and cult classic “Pow Wow Highway,” it was the break through native feature that paved the way for “contemporary” native filmmaking. I realize that the Academy does not consider television, however my first starring role was the first contemporary native woman’s story ever produced in the U.S. movie made for television “A Girl Called Hatter Fox.”

I have appeared in the following films (this does not include my television appearances) and have held various roles throughout my acting career:

Black Cloud – Victoria Nez 2004
Powwow Highway – Bonnie Red Bow 1989
Vendetta – Elena 1986
City Limits – Woman in Desert 1984
The Horse Dealer’s Daughter (Short) – Young Woman 1983
Parasite – Bo 1983
Barbarosa – Young Prostitute 1982

I have been a SAG-AFTRA member since 1977 and am the longest standing American Indian member in the union. I sat on the SAG-EEOC committee from 1998 to 2001 and for many years was the only American Indian actor in this committee representing the native voice to the union. At SAG-AFTRA; I produced events including the panels; “Where Are We (Native Americans) in Film, Television and Radio” (2000) and Native Women in Film & Television” (2012).

As an actor, I have had the pleasure to work with some of the best in the business and studied for years at Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio.

Additionally, I have worked with the following directors: George Schaefer, Oliver Stone, Fred Schepisi, Gregory Hoblit, Charles Band, Mel Damski, Ricky Schroder, and Aaron Lipstadt.


I made the Academy’s shortlist for Oscar consideration in 2000. I wrote, produced, directed and scored music for my documentary short “American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian”, narrated by Edward Asner. This is the only film to date that addresses the American Indian and Jewish Holocaust. This film continues to have relevance with over three million+ views on YouTube, continues to produce revenue and still screens at universities globally. In 2005, my film won the Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award given to projects that have “the vision to see the truth and the courage to speak it.”

For this groundbreaking effort I have received numerous awards and acknowledgements for the visionary and humanitarian work I do including:

2006 National Women’s History Month Awards and received the award for Generations of Women Moving History Forward for development of Red Nation Television Channel (RNTV), internet accessible All Native programming

2005 Armin T. Wegner “Humanitarian” Award for the vision to see the truth… and the courage to speak it for American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian documentary as director and producer

2003 The Fargo Film Festival Award for Best Documentary Short for American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian

2000 The American Indian Film Festival Awards, Best Documentary Short for American Holocaust: When Its All Over I’ll Still Be Indian

2000 Academy Awards, USA, Oscar consideration and shortlist final

In addition, with the film festival I founded in 2003, this year will be our 13th season, Red Nation Film Festival is Home to the Native Documentary Voice and our Red Nation Television NetworkNative is Here, broadcasts native documentaries and shorts year round, reaching 10 million viewers in 37 countries.


I have actively engaged for the past 38 years in the production and have made outstanding contributions to the arts and science of motion picture in producing American Indian content, image and voice to the world.

On March 27, 2016, I produced and was moderator for Native Women in Film & Television NIGHT BEFORE THE OSCARS Series “Through the Lens of Indigenous Eyes Up Close & Personal in a conversation with native actors from the Award-winning Oscars “The Revenant.” Actors in attendance were Duane Howard, Arthur Redcloud and Forrest Goodluck. This series is to be broadcast on Red Nation Television Network, March 20, 2016.

I am the founder and producer of the first American Indian Film Festival in Los Angeles. Red Nation Film Festival (RNFF) – The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema, now in its 13th season.

Two of the independent feature films “Frozen River” and “The Garden” were first screened at RNFF in 2008 and went on to be nominated in 2009 for an Academy Award and Independent Spirit Award.

RNFF has helped launch feature films such as: “Frozen River” – starring Misty Upham, “JIMMY P. Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian” – starring Benicio Del Toro and Misty Upham, “Yellow Rock,” “West of Thunder,” “The Cherokee Word for Water,” “Chasing Shakespeare” starring Danny Glover, “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” presented in the Navajo language, including my exclusive partnership with Summit Entertainment’s feature film “Twilight Saga- New Moon”, in screening before its premier to the general public. This was a first for Summit Entertainment in regards to screening their franchise at any film festival, as well as countess documentaries like “Honor the Treaties.”

I produce a LIVE broadcast each year RNCI Red Nation Awards Show – on Red Nation Television Network, reaching 10 million viewers in 37 countries.
You can watch the show here:

I am Founder and CEO of Red Nation Television Channel – Native is Here, as well as produces original content for the network. Red Nation TV is the first all native online streaming company dedicated to American Indian & Indigenous content, reaching 10 million viewers in 37 countries. Founded in 2006, this year marks our 10 year anniversary. We are actively pursuing to have our online streaming company on a cable provider.

I am producer/founder/president of Native Women in Film & Television Film Festival. This is the only Native women’s film festival dedicated to American Indian & Indigenous women.

I produced last year on November 7, 2016, the first Native Cinema Gala held during American Film Market, highlighting Native Cinema “Indigenous Eyes Filmmakers Showcase.” This has become an annual event.

I am producer of Red Nation Celebration Concert Series – Each concert since 1995 has been filmed and broadcast in the U.S. and Europe.

In addition, I have been producing ground-breaking events all relating to American Indian in Films, TV and music in Los Angeles and New Mexico for 38 years.

My passion has been creating opportunities for American Indian image in motion pictures and I am President of Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI) that I founded in 1995 out of a direct need. RNCI is based in Los Angeles California and is the longest standing Native American non-profit organization that actively promotes arts and culture while fostering and supporting filmmakers, directors, writers, actors, and entertainers. I have created two film festivals, Red Nation Film Festival, now in its 13th year, and Native Women in Film and Television Film Festival, in its third year, to showcase Native American and Indigenous cinema.

As president and founder of RNCI, I have had the pleasure of working with many organizations including both public and private corporations. I am active in Los Angeles and throughout the country in promoting Native American and Indigenous cultures while providing an outlet for creative arts that includes films and filmmaking.

For example, Red Nation Film Festival (RNFF), held every November during American Indian Heritage Month, allows us to screen more than 40+ films per year that have been directed or produced by native filmmakers. We are one of the few organizations that continue to showcase talented individuals and bring them to the forefront of the industry. RNCI has the vision for creating avenues to get the films and filmmakers an audience while introducing them to the global mainstream audience.

Today, RNCI is a leading American Indian entertainment entity and the longest standing American Indian Native Arts and Culture non-profit in Los Angeles. RNCI is the world’s most recognized international American Indian performing arts, cultural, media, and educational organization dedicated to American Indian, Alaska Native and Indigenous Nations. RNCI’s continued commitment supports excellence in education, self-esteem, healthy lifestyles, community building, economic development, empowerment and inspirational opportunities for American Indian youth, and presents positive role models from the arts and entertainment disciplines to underserved youth on the reservations, empowerment initiatives for women on the reservations, and urban American Indian community programming.

I worked tirelessly with City of Los Angeles and the mayor’s office to accomplish our goals. I have made alliances with political leaders, environmental leaders, school districts, elected officials, Los Angeles power brokers and the general public.

RNCI is a visionary organization and empowers, inspires, motivates, includes, honors and educates not only our own people, tribal nations and youth, but also the general public.

Accomplishments include many first time events in the history of American Indian Arts and Culture that include:

First cultural events that recognized American Indian contributions to the performance arts through the “Red is Green Galacarpet events in Los Angeles.

First Red Nation Statuette Award to recognize and honor American Indian achievements in film.

Red Nation Television NetworkNative is Here. First all native content Internet Online Streaming Company television channel (2006 to present). This year is our 10th year anniversary in where we are actively pursuing to have our online streaming company on a cable provider by November 2016. Award: National Women’s History Project Award for launching the first Native Television Network.

The only Native Women in Film & Television Company.

Currently, I am presenting a narrative forum “The Power of Film – Reconnecting Hollywood, American Indians, and Native Youth Through Media” at this years NICWA on April 6th and November 9 at 13th Red Nation Film Festival. Others organizations/dates TBA for presentations at NIGA, NCIA, CNIGA.

In addition, I am working on directing my first feature film “Second Sunrise” that is in pre-production. I am also working on a documentary “Native Women RISE” due to the fact that many native women are abused and murdered in this country with the highest rates among any people. One in three native women will be raped in her lifetime. That’s a huge number given our population and this is just now being exposed to mainstream society. It is an important issue for indigenous people worldwide, the violence against women, that needs to be explored and stories told.

It is time to include American Indian narrative in all genres of filmmaking. It is critical to the human condition, to our spirituality, to the future of our youth and all youth. My goals are to bring diversity to the motion picture industry. We have a voice to be heard and an image to be seen in film and behind the camera.

We dedicated to the work that we do here at Red Nation Celebration Institute. Thank you.

With Respect

Joanelle Romero