Native Youth Matter – If I Can See It I Can Be It


Native Youth Matter – If I Can See It I Can Be It

Native Youth Matter – If I Can See It I Can Be It is a native youth program of Red Nation Celebration Institute founded in 1995. Its a community of out-reach programs that build strong and healthy relationships with Native Youth on Reservations and in Urban communities through film, music, dance, sports and the arts, and international relations in Cultural Bridging.  Its a prevention educational program designed to support Native youth and eliminating youth suicides in empowering them to tell their own stories.

RNCI work’s in areas of  policy, research, and advocacy in regards to Native Youth including expanding empowerment initiatives for native women and girls.  RNCI analyzes the impact of current and proposed policies on Native American youth, and foster strategic relationships with stakeholders such as legislative staff, agency personnel and tribal leaders. RNCI works directly with Native youth, in tribal and urban Indian communities across the country as part of our regular youth outreach and engagement work.

Our Mission is to actively engage with Native youth in making a connection that will have a life long positive effect on their lives. We are actively communicating with industry executives in staying in forefront of the entertainment industry to ensure our image is represented in film and television, in order to make a positive imprint of our image to native youth.  Native youth do not see themselves in media, what does that say to to our youth, how does that effect them? Red Nation Celebration Institute’s  program directly impacts native youth with positive images, positive roles models and through our Native Wellness Whole-being approach in developing leadership, in turn gives Native American Youth the confidence and skills in community, film, media, and activism.

Goal is to build on-site year round youth camps on reservations with a National Tour of accomplished native artists, during school session each year to bring positive messages to native youth. Our Native youth need to hear and experience these positive messages and experience different native voices to inspire them.

** Native Youth Matter has worked with Native youth in these homelands: Mescalero Reservation, Rose Bud Reservation, Navajo Reservation, New Mexico Pueblos, and in urban Native Communities throughout California.

2017 Scheduled Events & Programs

Event/Program: August 16-19, our annual Red Nation Film Festival ‘On the Road’ in Santa Fe NM, Rooted In Indian Country during the largest gathering of Native Artists. There will will screen Chief Oren Lyons Film SPIRIT GAME PRIDE OF A NATION’. We are busing in Native youth from all pueblos to experience this film and to hear from inspiring Native role models.

Native FILM Lab – Will be held during Red Nation Film Festival ‘On the Road’ in Santa Fe Indian Market Days August 9-23. Filmmakers are invited to submit. Please visit:

Homeland Community Outreach: Red Nation Celebration Institute is traveling once again to Mescalero Apache Reservation to work with the native youth, August 2017. There will be a 90 minute school assembly. Founder Joanelle Romero, will be speaking with Apache youth for 90 minutes sharing on her 36 years of sobriety and will speak on several issues affecting our native youth. Future planning has began in scheduling annual events for our youth, as well as NativeGen Wellness programs.

Mentoring Program: 14th Red Nation Film Festival takes place in Los Angeles November 8- 19th, 2017. We are in planning stages to have Native youth from all over Indian Country come in to experience the festival though our mentoring program.

Native Women in FILM: focus on emerging and established Native Women and girls in telling their stories though film and writing. 

Red Nation FILM Lab travels to Peru in June 2018 – working with Q’eros Nation of Peru youth, in the mountains of the Andes, Ch’allmachimpana and Qocha Moqo villages. RNCI Peruvian Native Youth organizer is Montano Rain. Founder of Help the Earth.



Red Nation Celebration Institute programs Native Youth Matter – If I Can See It I Can Be It has screened over 300+ with our Native Youth Film Series over the last 14 years at annual Red Nation Film Festival (RNFF) The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema. Native Youth films are directed, produced, written by native youth. Each year RNFF screens a family matinee of ABC/Hallmark “Dreamkeeper” the Myths & Legends of the American Indian. Native Youth Matter programs and initiatives has worked with Michael Jackson, to screening films, to Native Youth performing at Red Nation Celebration Concert Series, to workshops at United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) and Mescalero Apache Reservation school, to panels at National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA),  to film contests, to learning skills in production at Red is Green Carpets events, to busing in Native and Non-Native youth to Red Nation events. In 2016 RNFF screened thirteen IAIA student films, in addition native youth individual submissions to the festival.

STANDING ROCK: During 12th Red Nation Film Festival (RNFF) November 2015, RNFF partnered with Hawkwing Inc in bringing out several Native Youth of ‘One Mind Youth Movement’ whom lead the inaugural Indigenous Women RISE Climate Change March and Native youth were invited to sing an honor song at RNCI Red Nation Awards Show.  The Native youth who attended were from Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which included Standing Rock Sioux Tribal member. The youth that were invited had never seen the ocean or been on a plane and this was the first time they lead a march and sand on a televisied Award Show. They were so inspired that when returning home to North Dakota, these same youth lead Standing Rock Youth Movement to DC, April 2016 and returned home to North Dakota and WOKE the World to Standing Rock. This is the biggest social movement of our time. This is what happens when you put time into our Native youth and inspire them to make change.

Red Nation Celebration Institute programs and initiatives has worked with Michael Jackson, to screening films, to Native Youth performing at Red Nation concerts, to workshops at United National Indian Tribal Youth, to film contests, to Red is Green Carpets events, to busing in Native and Non-Native youth to Red Nation events.

Over the 22+ years of Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI) we have worked with some of the finest students native and non-native from CSUN University (Indian Studies), USC University (Indian Studies), USC, even grade school student from Calmont, Highland Hall, Viewpoint, Sherman Indian School, Institute of American Indian Arts, Sherman Indian High School, Calmont School, San Pedro Mid-School.

RNCI has bused in students from San Pedro and downtown LA schools for our cultural bridging screenings to environmental projects and first American Indian Parade (DYLA). RNCI has bused in Native youth from neighboring pueblos in New Mexico to attend Red Nation Celebration Institute ‘Leadership Role Models panels’ to Tuba City Schools on the Navajo Reservation. Even as current as students flown in from South Dakota “One Mind Youth Movement” for our first Indigenous Women Climate Change March this past year November 2015, they were asked to sing an honor song at RNCI Red Nation Awards Show.

Red Nation Celebration Institute have worked with these fine organizations: Native Wellness Institue,Walking the Healing Path, Jane Goodall, Southern California Indian Center, United American Indian Involvement, Toys R Us, United National Indian Tribal, Institute of American Indian Arts and National Indian Child Welfare Association.

Red Nation Celebration Institute Philanthropy  Something to Live for >>>——-> donations of $20,000 worth of school supplies, books, toys, bikes, computers to Pine Ridge and Rose Bud Reservation, to over a 3000 Red Nation T-Shirts to Native programs. RNCI *Red is Green Carpet Events held annually at Red Nation Film Festival in November, highlights a charity through RNCI social justice initiative  ‘Native Fashion with Social Action’.


2017 Partners thus far: Outta Your Backpack Media and La Plazita Institute. 2017 Sponsorship opportunities availbale upon request.

Contact: Linda Tenequer at

Sponsors & Partnerships over the years: Inn of The Mountain Gods, Mescalero Apache Nation, Pueblo of Pojoaque Governor Joe Talachy, Former Governor Joe Garcia, Buffalo Thunder Resort, Institute of American Indian Arts, Toys R Us, Gifts In Kind, Jane Goodall, Native Wellness Institue, Walking the Healing Path, Sovereign Mind Productions, American Indian Film Festival (SF), Star School (AZ), Help the Earth (LA), Southern California Indian Center, United American Indian Involvement, Institute of American Indian Arts and National Indian Child Welfare Association.

Partners over the years in highlighting Native student films have been: Help the Earth (LA); Star School (AZ), San Francisco American Indian Film Festival, and Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe NM). In 2016 RNFF screened thirteen Institute of American Indian Arts student films, in addition native youth individual submissions to Red Nation Film Festival.


Statistics on Native Youth Suicide and Addiction 


RELATED: Watch The Root Cause of Addiction:


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Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI) Native Youth Matter – If I Can See It I Can Be It program with your generous support has been able to give back since inception (1995) $20,000 worth of food and clothing and over $10,000 worth of school supplies, books, toys, bikes, computers to Pine Ridge and Rose Bud Reservation. In 2015, RNCI Native Youth Matter – If I Can See It I Can Be It, donated 500 t-shirts to native youth organization Blue Pony Program to support their native youth Lacrosse project.


SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES:  Please contact Red Nation Celebration Institute ‘Linda Tenequer‘ for more information on how WE can make a difference TOGETHER for our youth and future generations. Email:

Native Youth Program Donor Levels 

Donations Levels

(Photo credits: Bucky Harjo, Tailinh Agoyo)

NOTE: Native Youth Matter – If I Can See It I Can Be It was founded in 1995, by Award Winner Joanelle Romero and is a copyright of Red Nation Celebration Institute, since 1995.