WHO WE ARE NATIVE WOMEN IN FILM & TELEVISION IN ALL MEDIA
is a media coalition initiative that brings a global awareness to the lack of inclusion of Native Women in Film & Television, which is directly linked to the epidemic of Murdered and Missing Native Women & Girls & Relatives.
2023 May a Global Month of Call to Action for Why We Wear RED MMIW May 1- 31. 2023
Why We Wear RED Call to Action is a result of years of neglect, from the film industry and government.
#WhyWeWearRED is a media coalition initiative that brings a global awareness to the lack of inclusion of Native Women in Film & Television, which is directly linked to the epidemic of Murdered and Missing Native Women & Girls.
Secretary U.S. Department of the Interior Deb Haaland was the first public figure to join our #WhyWeWeaRED Call to Action in 2018 and took this Call to Action into government relations.
During the month of May, NWIFTV in All Media will be hosting Conversation Series, an Instagram storm, and more. A social media toolkit and a list of MMIW-related resources are also provided as part of the call to action.
Along with Native communities, others have followed suit in wearing a red hand across their face and using the #WhyWeWearRED hashtag, making it a global Call to Action!
Entertainment Industry Factsheet
Though the film industry had been established for half a century already, 1977 marked the first time a Native actress carried a leading role in a contemporary movie, Joanelle Romero in The Girl Called Hatter Fox.
It took Hollywood 42 years from The Girl Called Hatter Fox to a streaming series with a Native actress in a contemporary leading role, Sivan Alyra Rose in Netflix’s ‘Chambers’ in 2019 (one season)
The disheartening statistics regarding Indigenous representation in Hollywood continues. Between 2003 to 2019, America did not see a Native actress in a co-star, guest-star, or series regular role in episodic television on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. For 16 years, these major networks disregarded the Native women’s narrative, contributing to the dangerous epidemic of invisibility of Native women and girls in our society.
In 1996, The first all Native cast television series ‘pilot’ was created ‘Red Blanket: Home, Home on the Rez’ and was pitched. Hollywood Executives told creator/showrunner ‘You are 25 years ahead of your time.’ (streaming now on Red Nation Television Network) In 2021, Reservation Dogs premiered (now in its 3rd season – FX/Hulu 2023) and Dark Winds in 2022 (now in its 2nd season – AMC Networks 2023).
Regarding Native representation in cinema, Hollywood produced Dances with Wolves 1990 and it took 25 years for Hollywood to produce another The Revenant, 2015.
In 2022, Prey and 2023 ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
Native Women in Film & Television founder Joanelle Romero met in person with representatives from ABC Network in 2018 and had talks with NBC Network and CBS Network to give voice to this problematic issue. Due to the persistent work of Native Women in FILM and the #WhyWeWearRED initiative, Native Women in FILM is happy to announce that those meetings ended up fruitful regarding representation. In the fall of 2019, Tantoo Cardinal was cast as a series regular in ABC’s Stumptown (one season canceled ). In 2020, Irene Bedard was cast as a recurring regular on CBS Network’s FBI’s Most Wanted. (in for 2 seasons – role canceled) 2022, Grace Dove was cast in Alaska Daily on ABC Network (on season canceled).
While we celebrate this progress, a few Native actresses working in the film and television industry is a far cry from where we need to go.
Today, there are still no Native Actresses working in lead, costar or featured roles on prime-time episodic television ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX.
Other issues Indigenous Women face
Sexual harassment, assault, human trafficking, inequality for women in all kinds of workplaces, violence against the land is violence against women.
Violence against Native women has reached epidemic proportions. Four in five Native women will be the victims of violence during their lifetimes. Native women remain the most underrepresented minority in the industry.
While there is no national database on missing and murdered indigenous women, on some reservations Native women are murdered at a rate 10 times more than the national average.
Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or abused than any other racial or ethnic group in the US. Eight in ten Native women will be raped, stalked or abused in their lifetime and one in three Native women will be raped, stalked or abused every year.
Meanwhile, the representation of Native women in mainstream film and television is plagued by invisibility, stereotypes and whitewashing. While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reported a body that is 30 percent people of color, only 0.0026 percent of its members are Native women.
Why We Wear Red Campaign
Social Media Campaign
This initiative was christened “Why We Wear RED” in order to create a powerful slogan identified with a strong symbolic color and image of hand across the face to bring attention to the fact that not only are Native and Indigenous Women more likely to be victims of these types of crimes, their plight is often ignored and their specific stories are missing from mainstream media, leading to even further victimization.
The core theme of the #WhyWeWearRED campaign is the critical link between the lack of visibility in mainstream media and increased levels of violence against Native and Indigenous Women. If an Indigenous woman goes missing and her story is not widely distributed, this in turn leads to lower chances of apprehending the perpetrator, and both she and her story are lost forever.
If Native and Indigenous women are excluded from mainstream media, their victimization is compounded because predators receive the message that this class of victims does not matter. To combat this problem, Red Nation Celebration Institute works diligently to increase the profile of the Native narrative in all types and forms of media. This campaign is broad-ranging in scope and impact given the 500-plus tribes and Native and Indigenous communities across the nation.
The campaign furthers RNCI’s goal of increasing the visibility of Native and Indigenous women, and, by bringing the issue forward, educates Americans to transform the ways in which the underlying problem is addressed.
Native Women in FILM & Television #WhyWeWearRED Call to Action and media coalition founded on January 7, 2018, by humanitarian/actress/producer/director/founder Joanelle Romero of Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI), 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.
Based in Los Angeles with offices in Santa Fe New Mexico, serving Indian Country & Entertainment Industry. Representing over 570+ Native Nations, amplifying more than 5000+ Native and Indigenous content creators through its streaming company Red Nation Television Network, supporting 2700+ Native Indigenous filmmakers through its Red Nation International Film Festival, including films directed by women through its Native Women in Film & Television in All Media, since 1995. In the last six years RNCI has screened 162 films directed by women.
Joanelle Romero has been curating films for the last 28 years with her FESTIVAL (s) RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival and Native Women in Film & Television in All Media including her Red Nation Television Network a streaming media and production company.
August 2018, then Congresswoman Deb Haaland, now Madam Secretary partnered with Native Women in Film & Television in All Media #WhyWeWearRED Call to Action. NWIFT Why We Wear RED Call to Action and its Media Coalition had its first press conference in Santa Fe during Indian Market with Congresswoman Deb Haaland and others.
Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States and the oldest city in New Mexico on the unceded territories of the Mescalero Apache and the 19 pueblos: Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambé, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, Sandia, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Taos, Tesuque, Zia, Zuni.
Why We Wear RED and its National Media Coalition is an advocacy group devoted to securing the freedoms, human rights, protecting American Indian culture and the environment while increasing and improving portrayals of American Indian & Indigenous women in the media, including advocating for communications policies.
Humanitarian, Joanelle Romero creator of Why We Wear RED©, Native Women in FILM©, Native Women in Film & Television in All Media©, coined #WhyWeWearRED©, #NativeWomenInFilm©, #NativeWomenInFilmTV© and is the sole property of Red Nation Celebration Institute.
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We Would Love to Hear from You
- Most Americans state that they would like to see curriculum change in schools at each grade level. What they have learned is inaccurate and the continued untruths is damaging to all Americans.
- 72% believe that change in school curricula on American Indian History is of utmost importance to move forward with accurate information of American Indian Culture.
- 87% of state-level history standards Fail to Cover Native Peoples History and this remains harmful for all Americans, especially the next generations.
- Content analyses of prime-time television and popular films reveal that the inclusion of American Indian Characters ranges from zero to 0.4% and Native women 0.0005%.