Native Children’s Survival continues to cultivate awareness and support for critical issues facing Indigenous Peoples, Children and the Environment by reaching millions of viewers around the world through television broadcasts on major networks, from MTV America to SABC Africa. The following is a brief history.
TIMELINE 1990 – 2016
Our first music picture campaign, Is It Too Late, was broadcast around the world from the Kremlin, on ORT Channel One Russia, following President Mikhail Gorbachev’s historic environmental message at the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders in Moscow and screened at United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Children and the Environment Project, United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Headquarters, New York. This endeavor earned NCS Founder/President Robby Romero the title of United Nations Ambassador of Youth for the Environment and a certificate of appreciation from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) signed by Executive Director, Mostafa K. Tolba.
As part of MTV’s Free Your Mind campaign, NCS created several stereotype breaking public service announcements. The PSAs were produced to introduce the music television generation to contemporary Native Peoples and to dispel myths and misconceptions about Native Peoples in pop culture. The PSAs generated a huge buzz and the Free Your Mind campaign won the industry’s prestigious CableACE Award.
Our VH1 World Alert rockumentary special, Makoce Wakan: Sacred Earth, was produced to help support legislation in the U.S. Congress to protect Native Peoples Sacred Sites and Freedom of Religion. The World Alert Special first screened at a Press Conference in the U.S. Capitol at the Rotunda of the Senate Office Building. The legislation was successful and the film generated the highest viewer response of any show on the network to date at that time, gaining 160,000 new subscribers from the heart of Indian Country for MTV Networks.
Heartbeat, the followup music picture to Is It Too Late, first aired on VH1 and MTV2 with a ‘Call To Action To Protect Native Peoples Sacred Sites’. Heartbeat impacted Native and Commercial Radio during NCS Founder/President Robby Romero’s groundbreaking and critically acclaimed Indian Country Tour. The music and campaign were featured on VH1′s Inside Music and MTV’s Crossroads shows, and on NPR’s WXPN World Cafe
Prayer Song, a music picture written and produced in honor of Native American Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier, first aired on VH1 and MTV2. Prayer Song impacted Native and Commercial Radio during the campaign’s Turtle Island (aka) North American Radio Cafe Tour. The music and message were featured on several television programs including a special appearance on the PBS hit puppet show “Puzzle Place,” an episode that become the most watched and requested episode of the series.
With the success of our campaigns on MTV Networks NCS Founder/President Robby Romero took NCS and our Call To Action To Protect Native Peoples Sacred Sites on the 1995 and 1996 H. O. R. D. E. Festival, a Blues Traveler-founded Tour that came to define a genre of explosive live performances and intense fan loyalty, and on the Blues Traveler Fall tours. The music and campaign were featured on American morning news talk show’s across the country and on MTV’s H. O. R. D. E. Bootleg Special”.
Our experimental indie short film, Hidden Medicine, was produced to support legislation then in U.S. Congress to protect the remaining four percent of America’s forests. Featuring a preface by Robert Redford, the short film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, aired on Sundance Channel in the “Best of the Fest” series and screened at United Nations 6th session of the Working Group on the draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, Switzerland. With a successful appeal, Hidden Medicine encouraged viewers to take immediate action regarding the Act to Save America’s Forests and the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act.
Our rockumentary film, America’s Last Frontier, was produced to help stop legislation in the U.S. Congress that would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. Supported with MTV News features, America’s Last Frontier first aired on SABC Africa’s hit program 50/50 during UNCED, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (aka) the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa and at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), United Nations Headquarters, New York. The television broadcast campaign was successful, the legislation was stopped and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was protected.
As part of our r u 2 cool 2 care public service announcement campaign and in support of our rockumentary film, America’s Last Frontier, Save The Arctic Refuge premiered on MTV News and on our NCS YouTube Channel with a successful appeal to stop legislation in the U.S. Congress that would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration.
The r u 2 cool 2 care campaign continued with another Safe The Arctic Refuge public service announcement produced to generate support to Permanently Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas exploration. The campaign continues…
As part of our r u 2 cool 2 care public service announcement campaign, NCS created Native Wind a PSA featuring Chief Arvol Looking Horse celebrating alternative Native energy.
Native Wind had its debut at President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative in New York City, with some of the world’s most influential political and business leaders in attendance. Native Wind made its film festival premier at the American Indian Film Festival at the Palace Of Fine Arts in San Francisco, CA and went on to showcase at Festival De Cannes, Short Film Corner, in Cannes, France, the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival presented by Patagonia, Robert Redford’s Sundance Summit, and at the United Nations World Environment Day Global celebration.
Encounters – An Alliance For Children, a Sony/BMG release, featured a duo with NCS Founder/President Robby Romero and German Rock Legend Peter Maffay performing Robby’s Indian Country hit single Heartbeat. Heartbeat became the album’s single. The single and album’s release were followed by a string of TV and Radio appearances including, BRAVO Magazine’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of music history and youth culture with a live three-hour international television satellite feed, an AOL International Live broadcast, and a 15-city Arena Tour. The TV lineups included Beyonce, Tokio Hotel, Sting, Keith Urban, and more. The Encounters project was successful in raising over one million Euros to benefit children’s programs around the world, including the building of the “Sacred Hoop” Lakota Language Immersion School in Oglala, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. At a press conference in Germany, Robby was presented with a Gold Record from the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI), the Federal Association of Music Industry in Germany.
Following the tour, in a Concert for Peace Robby joined President Mikhail Gorbachev, Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), Angelique Kiddy, Peter Maffay, President Shimon Peres, NCS Board Member Dakota Romero, Carlos Santana, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Bochum, Germany. Proceeds from this concert supported the humanitarian projects of the Milagro Foundation in San Francisco and the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in South Africa.
Who’s Gonna Save You presents an Indigenous perspective to a global crisis. This ‘music picture’ is a combination of music video and motion picture woven into a poetic call to consciousness for the restoration of life in balance.
Who’s Gonna Save You first premiered on SABC Africa’s hit program YoTV during the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol in Durban, South Africa. Who’s Gonna Save You went on to premiere at special events including: The Taos Pueblo Day School, UNM Harwood Museum Of Art, and the United Nations Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). Who’s Gonna Save You had its North American broadcast premiere on ABC’s Heartbeat Alaska and screened at the Suquamish Youth Summit on Mother Earth Day 22 April 2016.
“We’re bringing a message to the world for the restoration of life in balance, because music does make a difference.”
– Tonya Gonnella Frichner, American Indian Law Alliance, North American Regional Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
“Your musical talent and leadership in the Native American community will undoubtedly help commemorate the United Nations adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for years to come. It was very thoughtful of you to include me in the celebration of this historic occasion.”
– Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Project Protect Awareness Campaign continues to build Global momentum and will release the latest music picture in the series titled, Earth Revolution on The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 9 August 2016. Earth Revolution calls for implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Rights of Mother Earth and all her children.
As part of our r u 2 cool 2 care public service announcement campaign Iron Horse addresses the misconceptions and stereotypes perpetrated in history books and in pop culture about Indigenous Peoples. Written and performed by NCS Founder/President Robby Romero and NCS Board Member and two time Grammy Winner Robert Mirabal, Iron Horse served as a catalyst to the culturally historic name-change of Kit Carson Park to Red Willow Park by the Town of Taos. Iron Horse premiered at the 32nd Annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow held at the University of New Mexico Arena (The Pit) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and on the NCS YouTube Channel and PowWows.com. “When the opportunity presented itself, I suggested that the Town of Taos change the name of Kit Carson Park to Red Willow Park to honor the Indigenous Peoples of the Red Willow. I made the suggestion to kindle a conversation about one-sided perspectives that are more often than not ‘his-story – not history’ and I’m certain the curtain has fallen on the misconceptions, stereotypes and derogatory names exploited in history books and in sports and POP culture about Native Peoples.” – Robby Romero
In addition to the positive comments from viewers, numerous cultural, environmental, entertainment and human rights awards, NCS has also received numerous Certificates of Acknowledgment from distinguished organizations. Those organizations include: The National Congress Of American Indians, The United Nations Children and the Environment Programme, The Red Road, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Earth Day Network, SONY/BMG Music Entertainment, The Gwich’in Steering Committee, and The Aveda Corporation.
However, the success of NCS’s projects is best stated by the networks that aired our programs and the media. Here are a few clips.
“In the spirit of Woody Guthrie’s Tom Joad, Robby Romero is there wherever Native Americans are fighting for the rights. He is an articulate artist and advocate for the causes and concerns behind a cultural resistance that is older than this country.”
– Media Channel
“Feedback has been more than positive: Congratulations on a very successful show that has generated more viewer calls than any other show to date”
– MTV Networks
“Hidden Medicine is an experimental, mystical film that deals with the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the environment. The film beautifully weaves story, poetry, music and politics, creating an impending sense of our planet’s struggle to survive.”
– Sundance Channel
“We had amazing feedback from our viewers and they enjoyed the educational ride, the critical message so eloquently brought across with the beauty of Alaska and music that could become a hit in South Africa”.
– SABC Africa
“It’s insightful for South Africans to hear the plight of Indigenous Peoples worldwide, and the United Nations World Summit provided the perfect platform for this screening.”
– SABC 2 Africa
“The Alaska premier of ‘Who’s Gonna Save You,’ by Robby Romero, brought a new excitement to the Native community of Alaska. With the radiation of Fukushima arriving on Alaska’s coast, the music picture launched a sense of urgency along with the added excitement of having a world class musician/activist in our midst”
– Jeanie Greene (Creator/Producer of ABC’s Heartbeat Alaska)
“Robby Romero and his band Red Thunder are changing the world — and the world of music.”
– Los Angeles Times Magazine
“A Powerful Plea For Mother Earth… This engaging hybrid music picture delivers an undeniable message…a powerful plea for Mother Earth, a compelling call to action and a heartfelt warning of impending doom if we fail to change our ways. The alter-native music and novel storyline with haunting imagery locks in your attention, empathy and interest.”
– Native Peoples Magazine
“Who’s Gonna Save You… This change in the weather will burn us, then we’ll freeze,” sings Robby Romero, “there’s a point of no return; we’ve got to face reality.” Those are just some of the striking lyrics from “Who’s Gonna Save You… Thoughts from Hopi Elders, recording artists and street artists including the infamously artsy Brit vandal Banksy are also featured in the flick.”
– Santa Fe Reporter
“A Voice on Climate Change From an Indigenous Perspective… Climate change is possibly the biggest challenge the world now faces. Romero tackles the tough topic of climate change from an Indigenous perspective.”
– Indian Gaming Magazine
“Americans for Alaska urge the Senate to protect the Arctic Refuge. Attending were the Honorable Jimmy Carter, Robby Romero, Theodore Roosevelt IV, Dune Lankard, Robert Kennedy Jr., Sarah James, John Travolta, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Carole King, The Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey III, Michael Douglas, Kevin Spacey, Larry Rockefeller, Ann Bancroft, Rob Reiner, Edward Norton, Don Henley, Billy Crystal, Ted Turner, Mike Medavoy, Lyn & Norman Lear, Ed Bagley Jr., Ed Asner, Mary Tyler Moore.”
– The Washington Times
“This film could not be more topical. With the Bush administration trying to push through legislation that would extract oil from the pristine North Slope of Alaska, the Gwch’in, who have lived there for centuries, are fighting to protect their way of life. Interspersed with music and song, the plight of the Gwich’in is chronicled with interviews and stunning visuals.”
– Eastern Door
“Cultivating Indigenous world awareness. Native rock artist Robby Romero of “Red Thunder” has long been outspoken and passionate about the environment.”
– Awareness Magazine
“Red Thunder spreads a positive spiritual, environmental message around the globe.”
– Lakota Times
“Robby Romero and Red Thunder have earned respect around the world on more than one level. Their dynamic music inspires their fans to dance, while their faithful efforts to improve the lives of individuals through-out Indian Country motivate their fans to volunteer, learn and serve others.”
– Cherokee One Feather Newspaper
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Mahsi’ choo (Thank You), Native Children’s Survival