"It's OK to be you; it's OK to be me," chants 9-year-old Apache rapper Sage. "We may look different, but we can still be friends. Indians are red; whites are white. Let's try to get along, all the colors of the world…"
Well, why not? Being happy with who we are is the secret to getting along in the world, says Sage. "Racism hurts" is her message, and the message of her multiracial rap group, SC Cool.
SC Cool will be among the artists performing at the Red Nation Celebration of Youth at Paolo Soleri Amphitheater…
It is the free show for the young people that is the more important one for the producers, says Joanelle Nadine Romero, who with her husband Gary Robinson forms Spirit World Productions, co-producing Red Nation Celebration with Southwest Learning Centers, headed by Seth Roffman.
"We're very passionate about it, and we also feel it's a humongous emergency," says Romero. "They always send one of us—my husband or me, for instance—just one of us out to a reservation school talking. Our vision was to have 20 of us up there at one time, talking and singing and performing…
"The theme is 'Live Your Dreams' and all of these performers of all ages are people who are living their dreams," adds Romero. "They all want to be successful in their areas. We want the kids to see that. We want them to see that it's OK to be Indian, OK to be contemporary as an Indian, and if they stay off drugs and alcohol and take pride in themselves, they can live their dreams, too."
Romero said her daughter Sage recently was evaluated "gifted" (hardly a surprise in a child who has appeared in two music videos and three movies by 9).
Yet when Romero and Robinson investigated what they told was the best school in town for a gifted child, they discovered that the school had no information in its library, its curricula or its resource materials about Indians or being Indian.
"There is such an emergency for non-Indian and Indian youth to have a safe arena to discover their differences and similarities and that is what we want the Red Nation Celebration to become: that arena," says Romero. "This year's show is a baby step. It will grow."
This year marks SFR's 40th anniversary. Celebrate with us by reading excerpts of stories that have graced our pages through the years. The Santa Fe Indian Market and the Indigenous Fine Arts Market are both this week.