Celebrating Indigenous Women Who Are Shaping Our World

March is Women’s History Month – commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. This year, the theme for Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Stories.” For centuries, Indigenous people have passed stories by word of mouth from one generation to the next, and storytelling remains an inherent part of Native American culture today. In recognition, Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) is celebrating Indigenous women for breaking the glass ceiling to tell the stories that need to be told.

PWNA celebrates these Indigenous women who are storytelling through film:

  • Joanelle Romero, founder of the Red Nation Television Network (RNTN), is increasing Native representation in film and pioneering entertainment content that puts Native Americans in charge of their own TV narratives. One of the first Native filmmakers/actors invited into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, she received the Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award for “the vision to see the truth…and the courage to speak it” at the Arpa International Film Festival in 2005. RNTN hosts the only Native Indigenous Awards show to broadcast annually. Joanelle’s heritage is Mescalero-Chiricahua Apache, Dinétah, Paiute Nations and Spanish Sephardic.
  • Yalitizia Aparicios, the first Indigenous Mexican woman to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category, earned the nomination for her role as Cleo (her first role ever) in the 2018 drama “Roma.” A supporter of the Red Nation International Film Festival and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador who stands against racism, Aparicio will serve as the executive producer of “Dreamer” this year, a sweatshop thriller awarded Best Picture at the 2023 Mammoth Film Festival.

We also celebrate these Indigenous women who continue breaking barriers in the political world:  

  • Secretary Deb Haaland, who most recently launched an investigation that revealed graves at some 53 ‘Indian’ boarding schools operated by the U.S. government;
  • Sharice Davids, who is working to secure access to quality public education for every student and supporting small business in Kansas; and
  • Mary Peltola, the first Alaska Native woman elected to Congress who is pro-jobs, pro-fish and pro-families for the people of Alaska.

These women are creating strong, safe environments for Indigenous women and girls around the globe. This month, take some time to learn about more Indigenous women who are actively shaping our world and to honor the women in your everyday life.

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