Life as Art/Art as Life: Iconic, persuasive, and often controversial influences highlight the beginning of what would become the soundtrack of a lifetime marked by integrative campaigning for political, environmental, and social justice.
In 1970, Robby’s mother, Rita Rogers (1937-2012) introduced her son to Hollywood rebel Dennis Hopper (1936-2010), a real/surreal American actor, filmmaker, photographer and artist.
Reies Lopez Tijerina (1026-2015) and Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), were among the many activists Rita exposed her son to. Tijerina was a civil rights activist and founder of Alianza de Pueblos Libres (The Alliance of Free Pueblos) also know as La Alianza de Mercedes (The Alliance of Federal Land Grants). Chavez was a union leader and labor organizer who founded the National Farm Workers Association and succeeded in raising salaries and improving working conditions for some of the poorest farm workers in America.
During this time Robby’s mother asked Robby to take Hopper to an American Indian Movement (AIM) encampment in Dené Territory on the Navajo Indian Reservation to meet Dennis Banks (1937-2017), Russell Means (1939-2012), and Lakota Spiritual Leader Leonard Crow Dog. Robby was 13. At the time, Robby was living with Hopper at the Mabel Dodge Tony Luhan House on the Taos Pueblo Indian Reservation in New Mexico. This trip with Hopper through Pueblo, Apache, and Dené Territory would be the first of many he would make on behalf of the movement.
In-between introductions, meetings, and rally’s, Rita took Robby to visit Elvis Presley during Elvis’s 645 sold-out live shows from 1969 through 1976 in Las Vegas. She provided a center of learning for Robby to spend valubale time on TV and movie sets with Hopper, Peter Fonda, David Caridine, and American Director and screenwriter Sam Peckinpah.
Throughout the Seventies, Robby traveled from Taos to Hollywood writing songs, recording and playing in Taos Plaza’s Cantina’s and Cafe’s, as well as Hollywood’s famed clubs. His first solo show in Hollywood was at The Improv Comedy Club in 1978. His first show with a band was at The Troubadour in 1979.
At the request of Hopper, Dennis’s brother, David, and Taos artist, Pepe Rochon, managed Robby’s bookings and helped Rita and Hopper launch Robby into a life of music, film, and activism through the art of altruism.
AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT
Dennis Banks, leader and co-founder of The American Indian Movement (AIM) calls on Robby to perform with Buddy Red Bow (1948-1993), a Lakota singer-songwriter, and Floyd Red Crow Westernman (1936-2007), a Lakota singer songwriter, actor and activist, at a concert to raise funds for an Ambulance for the Weight Clay District Emergency Medical and Fire Protection Services in Oglala, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The concert was held at Half Moon Bay in Northern California hosted by Dennis Banks and the West Cost Chapter of the American Indian Movement. Robby had not seen Banks since 1973.
A year later Robby received a Certificate of Merit from the Wičóni Awanyankapi that stated, “In recognition for your efforts to raise funds to obtain two ambulances that were delivered and used by this service to respond to 371 emergency medical and 9 fire calls, thereby saving 70 people from death or disability, during the first year.”
Later that year Robby is again called upon by Dennis Banks to perform at a concert in Louisville Kentucky to bring National awareness to one of the most massive Indian grave robberies in US history. Robby assists and helps Banks organize reburial ceremonies for ancestors who’s graves were desecrated and robed by collectors of Indian remains and artifacts in Uniontown, Kentucky.
Robby spent more than a year in Kentucky as the National Field Coordinator for The American Indian Movement performing and speaking at Public Schools and Universities advocating for the protection of Native American Graves and Sacred Sites. Banks and Romero’s activities resulted in the states of Kentucky and Indiana passing strict legislation against grave desecration. Their efforts led to The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) enacted on 16 November 1990.At the American Indian Film Festival honoring ceremony for Native American actor, Will Sampson, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "The White Buffalo", and "The Outlaw Josey Wales", held at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Romero and Banks made an aperance on stage with the Sampson family and Floyd Red Crow Westerman.
Robby joins The Sacred Run, a spiritual run led by Dennis Banks. From the Onondaga Sovereign Territory in upstate New York to San Francisco Robby performed and spoke at grass-roots gatherings, concerts and ceremonies. On 6 & 9 August 1988 The Sacred Run continued in Japan on the 43rd Anniversary of the United States bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the Ainu Indigenous Territories in Hokkaido, the Northern Island of Japan, with a momentous concert held at Eight Mountains Peak on 8/8/88.
Upon Robby’s return to Turtle Island (North America) Robby performed and spoke with Dennis Banks at Flandreau Indian School and with Native American singer-songwriter, Mitch Walking Elk, at the 45th Annual National Congress of American Indians Conference held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Robby received a Cerrficate of Acknowledgment and Appreciation for "Worthy Controbutions to the NCAI Membership".
NATIVE CHILDREN'S SURVIVAL
Robby founded Native Children’s Survival (NCS), a non-profit organization devoted to the healing of Mother Earth and all her children. He was signed to Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, identified by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as “one of Britain’s great independent labels”. Robby began recording and filming a series of music singles and music pictures in support of NCS and his Native Rock Music Movement with Limelight Productions and English film, documentary and music video director Julien Temple, who began his career with short films featuring the Sex Pistols, and producer, director, cinematographer, Hart Perry, whose music video awards include Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" and Little Steven's "Sun City".The Native Rock music picture series began with, ALL THE MISSING CHILDREN, recorded and produced in association with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Congress of American Indians. ALL THE MISSING CHILDREN was created to help bring awareness about the critical need for the prevention of and recovery from child victimization. Written and performed by Robby, the recording and music picture featured Billboard Hot 100 recording artists, Terri Nunn and Robbie Nevil; and the music picture featured multi-platinum recording artist Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chile Peppers. The music pciture incorperated images of Indigenous and runaway and homeless children from the streets of Hollywood, California. ALL THE MISSING CHILDREN first screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Cinema in Brooklyn, New York. Robby was invited to perform at the 46th Annual National Congress Of American Indians Conference held in Okalahoma City. Robby invited Oneida singer-songwriter Joanne Shenandoah to join him and Kris Kristofferson at the Conference Gala Concert.
Following President Mikhail Gorbachev’s historic environmental message at the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders in Moscow, IS IT TOO LATE, the first internationally televised single and music pixcture in the series, was broadcast around the world from the Kremlin on ORT Channel One Russia and premiered at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City during the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Children and the Environment Project. Robby invited Onondaga Faithkeeper, Oren Lyons and Oglala Lakota Chairman, Harold Salway to speak with him on behalf of NCS and was joined by African American singer-songwriter Richie Havens in the closing performence. This endeavor earned Robby the title of United Nations Ambassador of Youth for the Environment and a Certificate of Appreciation signed by UNEP Executive Director, Mostafa K. Talba.Robby joined master of ceremonies Richard Gere and a host of artists, musicians, actors, activists, and politicians in Washington, DC. on 22 April 1990 for a live televised Earth Day celebration on the west front of the US Capitol. Mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues onto the world stage, the Earth Day activities in 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Robby opened and closed the event, and IS IT TOO LATE was broadcast Nationally.
Robby performed live from the Apache Territories of the Southwest as part of MTV’s “Street Block Party” broadcast. He was featured on CNN’s “Earth Matters” and his music and likeness were featured on the TBS star-studded hit cartoon “Captain Planet."
Robby made several special appearances during the year including: A concert held at the Kachina Lodge in Taos, New Mexico, The Concert for Native American Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier with Native American singer-somgwriter, Mitch Walking Elk, at the United States Penitentiary Leavenworth in Kansas and The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Annual Gala in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with renowed Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter and book illustrator, Allan Houser joing Robby on blues harp.
While preparing for the first and largest environmental conference in history at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, Robby continued to work on the TBS eco-cartoon series “Captain Planet”, his next singles PRAYER SONG and HEARTBEAT, and preformed at a series of speaking and concert engagements around the world including The Native American Programs at Dartmouth College and Harvard University in North America, The United Nations Earth Summit in South America, The Good Road “All Our Colors” Concert in North America, The Botanist Conference in Mexico, and The Nuclear Free Forum in Austria.
During a concert at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Robby was presented with the distinguished Aveda Eco-Perennial Award.
As part of MTV’s “Free Your Mind” campaign, Robby created several stereotype-breaking public service announcements to help dispel myths and misconceptions about Native Peoples in pop culture. The campaign won the industry’s prestigious Cable Ace Award.
Robby directed, scored and co-wrote with poet, writer, lecturer, curator, policy advocate, and United States Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Suzan Harjo, a World Alert Special, "Makoce Wakan: Sacred Earth". The VH1 World Alert Special was produced to help support legislation then in Congress to protect Native Peoples Sacred Sites and Freedom of Religion. Robby's directorial debut featured Apache Elder and Apache Survival Coalition founder, Ole Cassadore-Davis (1924-2012), Tadadaho (Chief of Chiefs), Leon Shenandoah (1915-1996), Onondaga Clanmother Audrey Shenandoah (1926-2012), and Oglala Lakota Spiritual Leader, Richard Moves Camp. "Makoce Wakan: Sacred Earth" screened at a press conference hosted by the Morning Star Institute, Viacom Media Networks, and the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The screening and press conference took place at the Senate Rotunda Building in Washington, D.C. and "Makoce Wakan: Sacred Earth" premired on MTV Networks as a VH1 World Alert Special.
“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
The legislation was successful and the rockumentary film generated 160,000 new subscribers from the heart of Indian Country for Time Warner Cable. The soundtrack to Robby's PSA's and rockumentary film introduced Native Rock music to the music television generation and Robby was featured on VH1′s Inside Music.
“Since VH1 began airing Inside Music segments featuring Robby Romero the Viewer Services Hotline has been bombarded by calls.” - MTV Networks
In support of the United Nations General Assembly proclaiming 1993 the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples, Robby invited Dennis Banks (1937-2017), Oglala Lakota Spiritual Leader, Richard Moves Camp, Suzan Harjo, and Aveda Founder, Horst Rechelbacher, to join him at the Roxy Theatre on sunset strip in Hollywood in a concert to celebrate and honor the more than 375 million Indigenous Peoples living in seven regions of the world. The concert was presented by Shep Gorden and Alive Enterprises and sponsored by the Aveda Corporation.
On 15 October 1993 Robby performed with Santana in a concert to benefit the Traditional Circle of Elders and Youth. The concert was held at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Arizona with NCS Board members, Ole Cassadore-Davis, Apache Survival Coalition, and Chief Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper, Onondaga Nation.
EAGLE THUNDER RECORDS
Robby founded Eagle Thunder Records and released his "RED THUNDER" self-titled EP debut exclusively in Indian Country. With his singles/music pictures HEARTBEAT and PRAYER SONG in rotation on VH1 and MTV2, spinning on Native Radio, NPR Radio and Commercial Radio, and with a special appearance on the PBS hit puppet show “Puzzle Place”, an episode that become the most watched and requested episode of the series, Robby began his groundbreaking and critically acclaimed Indian Country Tour.
H.O.R.D.E. MUSIC FESTIVALS
Eagle Thunder Records released Robby's LP “Makoce Wakan” exclusively on Turtle Island. Robby was invited on the 1995 and 1996 H.O.R.D.E. Tour, a Blues Traveler-founded festival that came to define a genre of explosive live performances and intense fan loyalty, as well as the Blues Traveler Fall tours. Robby was featured on MTV’s “Crossroads” and “H.O.R.D.E. Bootleg Special”. The tour lineups included: The Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow, The Black Crows, Rickie Lee Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Taj Mahal, Ziggy Marley, Natalie Merchant, Neil Young and Blues Traveler.During a concert at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Robby was presented with a second Aveda Eco-Perennial Award. At the Invitation of the Ainu, Robby traveled to the Ainu Territories of Japan to preform at the AINU Cultural Center and Penny Lane Thearte in Sapporo, Japan.
With laurels from critics and throngs of new fans, Robby returned to Indian Country, rolling onto the Navajo Nation for the Annual Hodiits’a concert with Native post-punk band, Blackfire, and punk rocker, Joey Ramone. He stormed the Pacific Northwest for the grand opening of Chief Leschi Schools and headed east for a series of concerts across Indian Country.
INDIAN COUNTRY TOUR
Robby continued on the Red Road with stops that included a string of appearances in Gwich’in Villages in the Arctic, a special benefit concert for Rocky Boy Reservation in Montana and the Onondaga Nation Music festival. Robby returned to the Navajo Nation Reservation for the Annual Hodiits’a concert with singer Maynard James Keenan of the American rock band Tool.
In-between concerts, rally's and speaking engagements, Robby spent his time in the Southern Coast Salish Territories at the Sapa Dawn Center, the home of the great Indigenous rights activist, Janet McCloud aka Yet-Si-Blue, (1934–2003). Janet was often refered to as "The Mother of Movements." She was the insperation and founder of the Sapa Dawn Center, North American Indian Lodge, Women of All Red Nations (WARN), and the Indigenous Women’s Network. At Janet's home, Robby wrote the songs for his next rockumentary film and LP "Hidden Medicine".
“Robby is inspirational for elders and youth. For me, his songs like “Medicine Woman” and “Heartbeat” are like my spiritual penicillin. His presence . . . his music . . . help me through hard times.” - Janet McCloud
Robby directed and co-wrote with Onondaga Faithkeeper, Oren Lyons, "Hidden Medicine". The film was shot on the sovereign ancestral territory of the Onondaga Nation featuring members of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations/Iroquois Confederacy) including, Clan Mother Audrey Shenandoah (1926-2012), Jeanne Shenandoah, Tadodaho Sid Hill, and Oren Lyons. Produced by Roland Joffé, best known for his Oscar-nominated movies “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission”, "Hidden Medicine" was created to help support legislation then in Congress to protect the remaining four percent of our forests. At Shelter Island Studios in New York City, Robby recorded the music and songs for "Hidden Medicine" with producer, musician, and Grammy winner Steve Addabbo.
Featuring a preface by Robert Redford, "Hidden Medicine" premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival and screened at International Film Festivals around the world. "Hidden Medicine" had its broadcast debut that same year on Sundance Channel in the “Best of the Fest” series with a successful appeal that encouraged viewers to take immediate action regarding both The Act to Save America’s Forests and the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act.
“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 Film Festival
INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL FESTIVALS
On 19 October 2000, Robby made a special appearence at the Red Road Gathering where he was presented a Certificate of Appreciation for his culture and sobriety work with the people.
"Hidden Medicine" screened during the Working Group on the draft declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and continued to air through the year on Sundance Channel. The "Hidden Medicine" soundtrack LP was released on Eagle Thunder Records exclusively in Indian Country and Robby hit the road in 2000 and 2001 to tour from the Native territories of North America to the Aboriginal territories of Australia. Robby headlined the Potawatomi Nation Music Festival & Pow Wow, Indian Summer Festival, Indigenous Cultural Festival in Australia and made a special appearance at The United Nations Conference Against Racial Discrimination in Sydney.
In Feburary 2001, Robby joined Dennis Hopper at his first retrospective art exhibition at Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum showcasing more than 100 paintings, photographs, films and sculptures dating back to the mid-50s.
"INDIGENOUS", a new product line celebrating Beauty in balance with Nature, created and developed by Robby with the Aveda Corporation, was launched. "INDIGENOUS" is a Purifying Collection, sustainably harvested by Native Peoples, that included a Purifying Pure-Fume Composition, Purifying Hair and Body Cleanser, and Purifying Aroma Candle. The "INDIGENOUS" Collection has donated over one million dollars to Indigenous and environmental organizations around the world.
Also in 2002, Robby and producer Roland Joffé documented "America’s Last Frontier", a musical journey from Washington, D.C. to the homelands of the Gwich’in Nation in Alaska. "America’s Last Frontier" was produced to help stop legislation then in Congress that would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. The rockumentary film features Gwich'in Elder Sarah James, Gwich'in Chief Evon Peters, and Eyak Preservation Council President and founder, Dune Lankard. "America’s Last Frontier" premired on SABC Africa’s hit program 50/50 during the United Nations World Summit On Sustainable Development in South Africa. The broadcast was successful, the legislation was stopped and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was protected.
“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.
Following the broadcast, Eagle Thunder Records released the "America’s Last Frontier" soundtrack LP on Turtle Island with a string of international live performances and film screenings.
On behalf of NCS, Robby created another Public Service Announcement campaign called "r u 2 cool 2 care" The first in the series, "Save The Arctic Refuge", focused on legislation to permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "Save The Arctic Refuge" was launched nationally on music television and internationally on the World Wide Web.The "Save The Arctic Refuge" PSA Campaign and "America's Last Frontier" rockumentary film were screened during the second session of United Nations Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues at the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, UN Headquarters. In honor of the Indigenous delegates attending the Forum, Robby gave a special performance at New York Public Theatre’s, Joe’s Pub.
ROCK THE REZ VOTE TOUR
As America prepared for it’s Presidential Election, so did Indian Country. Native Nations launched a national "Get Out the Vote" campaign and Robby hit the road on the "Rock The Rez Vote" campaign tour, targeting swing-states in Indian Country. Special guest speakers included Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive, Melanie Benjamin and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. In support of a new generation of Indian Country leaders, Robby performed at the Presidential inaugurations of Floyd “Buck” Jourdian, Chairman of the Red Lake Nation and Cecilia Fire Thunder, President of the Oglala Sioux Nation.
EAGLE THUNDER ENTERTAINMENT
Robby founded Eagle Thunder Entertainment (ETE). ETE released a limited edition of Robby’s work on behalf of NCS entitled, "Native Children’s Survival, If not now, when? If not you, who?" This essential CD/DVD eco-pack is a collection of music, music videos, rockumentary films, exclusive interviews on MTV, VH1 and Sundance Channel and public service announcement campaigns about the critical need to permanently protect our last remaining wild places and safeguard the rights, culture, lands and territories of Indigenous Peoples.
Following the release, Robby began work on "Native Wind", the next project of the NCS "r u 2 cool 2 care" public service announcement campaign. "Native Wind" had its debut at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City on 16 September 2005, with some of the world’s most influential political and business leaders in attendance. "Native Wind" made its film festival premier at the 2006 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.
LAKOTA LANGUAGE IMMERSION SCHOOL
Sony/BMG released "Encounters – An Alliance For Children". The album featured a duo of Robby 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 2007 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.
“Last year Indigenous Rock Star Robby Romero donated $241,000 from one of his hit records to help build a school on the Lakota Reservation…” - Cultural Survival Magazine
CONCERT FOR PEACE
"Pathfinder", a 20th Century Fox film in which Robby produced the Traditional Native Music and was a consultant for the production, was released. "Pathfinder" is based on the Academy Award nominated film of the same name for best foreign film by Nils Gaup, and is directed by Marcus Nispel and produced by Phoenix Pictures’ Mike Medavoy and Arnold Messer. Robby also produced the self-titled debut recording, "P. Town Boyz" and released the LP on Eagle Thunder Records exclusivly in Indian Country. The P. Town Boyz are an acclaimed Ojibwe youth drum group from the traditional village of Ponemah on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.
During the summer of 2007, Robby joined President Mikhail Gorbachev, Yusuf Islam, Angélique Kiddy, Peter Maffay, President Shimon Peres, Dakota Romero, Carlos Santana, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in a Concert for Peace in Bochum, Germany. Robby had the honor of performing with and singing Carlos Santana’s classic hits Black Magic Woman, Evil Ways, and Oye Como Va before performing his own hits, Heartbeat and Hidden Medicine. Proceeds from this concert supported the humanitarian projects of the Milagro Foundation in San Francisco and the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in South Africa.
PAINTING THE WORLD
Eagle Thunder Records released PAINTING THE WORLD, a limited edition CD/Single that celebrates the historical adoption of the United Nations’ “Declaration on The Rights of Indigenous Peoples”. Featuring Indigenous artists from around the world, PAINTING THE WORLD raises awareness about global warming and climate change. The CD release party took place during the seventh session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Cultural Event on Earth Day, 22 April 2008 at United Nations Headquarters in New York City with a live performance by Robby and Indigenous musicians from seven regions of the world.
On 13 October 2008, Robby joined Dennis Hopper in Paris for the Cinémathèque Française exhibition and screenings of Hopper’s multi-faceted life and career titled, ‘Dennis Hopper et le Nouvel Hollywood’.
On 22 April 2009, the United Nations’ General Assembly made a historic move by proclaiming the day International Mother Earth Day. The effort was led by Bolivian Indigenous President Evo Morales Ayma, on behalf of Indigenous repersenitives, Nations, and organizations. President Morales Ayma applauded the members of the world body for taking “a historic stand for Mother Earth”.
At the request of Red Lake Nation Chairman, Floyd “Buck” Jourdian, Robby produced the recording "Old Times" by the renowned pow wow group Red Lake Singers. "Old Times" was produced to capture and preserve old songs and an “old-style” of singing of the Ojibwe people of Red Lake Nation. "Old Times" was released exclusively in Indian Country by Eagle Thunder Records.
In a series of concerts around the world, Robby made several stops in Alaska at the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center for the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Conference, Arctic Village for the Gwich'in Steering Committee's 'Save The Arctic Refuge Campaigm', and in Copenhagen, Denmark for the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 5th Meeting of the Parties (MOP5) to the Kyoto Protocol.
On 12 September 2009, Robby joined Dennis Hopper for his 'Signs of The Times' Art Opening at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York City.
DENNIS HOPPER DAY
2010 proved to be a difficult year for Robby. On 29 May 2010, his brother, friend and mentor Dennis Hopper fell terminally ill and began his journey to the spirit world. Robby worked with art dealer and gallery owner Michael McCormick and then-New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to honor Dennis Hopper’s creative life and the many contributions he made to the multi-cultural community of New Mexico. The result was the Governor proclaiming 17 May (Dennis’ birthday) as “Dennis Hopper Day” in the State of New Mexico.
On 26 March 2010, Dennis Hopper's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was revealed. Robby attended the ceremony along with Hopper's family, friends, fellow artists, and colleagues.
On 11 July 2010, Robby attended Hopper's second retrospective art exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by fellow film-maker Julian Schnabel. The exhibition was a star-studded celebration of the Hollywood Rebal and Icon.
Mother Earth Day
To commemorate and celebrate the United Nations unprecedented and historic move proclaiming 22 April International Mother Earth Day, Robby partnered with several Native Nations to produce a music picture of Robby’s song, WHO'S GONNA SAVE YOU. The music picture had a sneak-peak broadcast premiere on South Africa’s number 1 network, SABC Africa, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in South Africa, reaching millions of African viewers. In conjunction with the broadcast, Robby gave several national TV, radio, and print interviews, including a live performance on South Africa’s popular e.TV “Sunrise” show in Johannesburg with an Indigenous African youth choir.
2012 proved to be another difficult year for Robby. He was heartbroken when his mother, Rita Rogers, on 11 June 2012 began her journey to the spirit world. Rita was Robby's closest ally and confidant having been by his side throughout his life.
In April 2012, Robby joined family and friends for Dennis Banks's, 75th birthday celebration and roast at the Northern Lights Casino and Resort on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.
On International Mother Earth Day, 22 April, 2012 Robby launched NCS’s latest campaign "Project Protect". "Project Protect" is an awareness campaign fighting for the rights of Mother Earth and all her children. World Environment Day, 5 June 2012, marked the online Global premiere of WHO'S GONNA SAVE YOU. The “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 celebrates the power of music and film to inspire, educate, and motivate audiences into awareness and action.
The music single WHO'S GONNA SAVE YOU dropped globally on 20 November 2012 on iTunes, Amazon, Robby's Village Store, and other leading music outlets. A DELUXE EDITION of WHO'S GONNA SAVE YOU dropped globally 21 December 2012 on iTunes. The DELUXE EDITION includes the music single and special edited version of the music picture for iTunes.
PROJECT PROTECT EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE
On Valentine’s Day Robby launched NCS’s "Project Protect Educational Initiative" at Taos Pueblo Day School. Together with UNM Taos, Sage Institute and The Harwood Museum Of Art, NCS presented a special screening of Who’s Gonna Save You at the Arthur Bell Auditorium in Taos, New Mexico. The event, hosted by NCS board member & actress Irene Bedard and Sage Institute board member & poet Dora E. McQuaid, featured local eco- entrepreneur leaders including KTAOS world famous solar radio founder Brad Hockmeyer, eco- architect Michael Reynolds, chairman of the UNM-Taos green tech program Mark Goldman, Taos Pueblo Red Willow Farm (and farmer’s market) eco- agriculturist Angelo McHorse and Hillery Duran. The evening closed with an acoustic performance by Robby Romero and Robert Mirabal of ALL OIUR COLORS.
In honor of the Rights of Mother Earth and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Nations, NCS, American Indian Law Alliance and Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Development presented a screening of WHO'S GONNA SAVE YOU at the twelfth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. A special PSA, "We Are The Seventh Generation", from Taos Pueblo Day School Students, was also screened followed by a panel discussion led by Indigenous Youth and NCS Youth Ambassador, Ta'Kaiya Blaney.
On 11 June 2013, Dakota Romero’s beautifully haunting debut recording of the classic traditional song La Llorona (English: Weeping Woman) produced by Robby Romero and released on Eagle Thunder Records, debuted on KXMT 99.1 FM Northern New Mexico. The La Llorona music picture was released on the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos), 1 November 2013. Dakota’s performance is dedicated to the memory of her Grandmother, Ida Mae Aragon aka Rita Rogers who began her journey to the spirit world 11 June 2012.
Later in the year Robby performed at the Gwitch'in Gathering in Artic Villege, Alaska. He was presented with a special cutural honor and Certificate of Appreciation for his dedication and work to protct “Iizhik Gwats'an Gwandaii Goodlit” (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins) from oil and gas expolration.
SUMMER OF THE RED WILLOW
On 17 May 2014, ETE presented the 1st annual Dennis Hopper Day happening and Easy Rider Ride hosted by Taos Pueblo and Taos New Mexico. Produced by Robby Romero, the tribute included a ceremony reception and round dance at Taos Pueblo, Party on the Plaza and Screening of Hopper’s counter-culture classic Easy Rider at the old Taos County Court House where the famous scene with Jack Nicholson was filmed.
"Dennis Hopper Day Descends On Taos, New Mexico" - New York Times Magazine
On 12 August 2014, Robby Romero and Grammy Award Winner Robert Mirabal came together with a new Alter-Native single Iron Horse to commemorate the Summer Of The Red Willow and the Town of Taos’s historic name change of Kit Carson Park to Red Willow Park. Iron Horse, the single dropped on 12 August 2014.
During 2014, Robby and Robert made special appearances in the Southwest including: Taos Old County Court House, Indian Market Santa Fe Band Stand, Camel Rock Show Room Tesuque Pueblo, The Big Barn Dance Taos Ski Valley, Southwest Association of Indian Arts Santa Fe Winter Indian Market, and Taos Center For Performing Arts.
The year ended with a unique evening at the Farmhouse Cafe titled Iron Horse Chefs. “They Are Award Winning Musicians But Can They Cook?” The evening featured the Alter-Native duo’s music and 5 star cuisine to benefit the Organic Breakfast & Lunch program for Taos Children and Twia Farm.
Robby and Robert performed live at the 32nd Annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque, the 94th Santa Fe Indian Market in Santa Fe and at a special tribute to world renowned Navajo painter RC Gorman at the Michael McCormick Gallery in Taos.
ETE presented the 2nd Annual Dennis Hopper Day happening on Sunday – 17 May 2015. Special Guests included Academy Award Winner Patricia Arquette, American Indian Film Award Winner Gary Farmer and Taos Pueblo Grammy Award Winner Robert Mirabal.
"Motorcycles, Movie Stars and Mellow Vibes" – Taos Tempo Magazine
As part of Native Children’s Survival Youth Campaign for Climate Justice EARTH REVOLUTION premiered at the Conference of Youth in Paris, France on the eve of the historic 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). The screening was prefaced by H.E. Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister and President of COP21.
Written and performed by Ta’Kaiya Blaney, singer-songwriter, actress and Native Children’s Survival Youth Ambassador, EARTH REVOLUTION features children from around the world in a call to action to protect Mother Earth and all our relations for future generations.
On the occasion of the closing ceremony of ArtCOP21, Dakota Romero, singer-songwriter, actress and Native Children’s Survival board member, closed the programme with her unique voice and multicultural style at the Gaîté lyrique, Paris, France.
“Until we understand our connection, only then will we understand our responsibility.” – Dakota Romero
ArtCOP21 is an exploration of the cultural stakes of climate change. More than 200 artists, poets, professionals, scientists and thinkers imagine together other narratives and other perspectives to reinvent our world.
In honor of Mother Earth Day, 22 April 2016, Robby and Ta’kaiya hit the read road for a multi-media tour in the Pacific Northwest with stops at Chief Leschi Schools, and Suquamish, Makah and Quinault Indian Nations.
Dennis Hopper Day became Dennis Hopper Days. The 3rd Annual Hopper Happening included the Inaugural Rebel Film Festival held at the Taos Center for Performing Arts. The Easy Rider Ride and Rally began at Old Martina’s Hall at the historic Ranchos de Taos St. Francis Plaza on 14 May 2016. Festivities were held through 17 May 2016 concluding with the Dennis Hopper Commemoration Celebration.
"Every year, thanks to his daughter Marin and friend Robby Romero, Taos celebrates Dennis Hopper Day(s) with an Easy Rider Ride, music, movies and memories." - TaoStyle
Robby and Robert Mirabal perform for Dennis Banks’ Longest Walk at Po-suwae-geh Owingeh Pueblo in Pojoaque, New Mexico. Special guests and dignitaries included Po-suwae-geh Owingeh Pueblo Governor Joseph Talachy. “Po-suwae-geh Owingeh” means water gathering place in Tewa language.
In the spring of 2016, Robby joined Dennis Banks on his annual “Mother Earth Tour” through the Indigenous Territories in Oklahoma.
In July Robby and Dennis joined the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and Water Protectors on the front-lines of an historic Indigenous resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline—an oil pipeline snaking through 1851 treaty land adjacent to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Robby organized a compost sanitation project to protect the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers and the Oceti Sakowin 1851 Treaty Lands with Academy Award Winner Patricia Arquette, her team at GiveLove, and the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Together with elders Phillis Young and Dennis Banks, Robby organized and invited fellow musicians to perform in a series of concerts to raise funds and awareness in support of Water Protectors and the Oceti Sakowin Camp on the front lines of this historic peaceful and spiritual resistance.
At the request of AIM elders Madonna Thunder Hawk, Phylis Young, and Dennis Banks, Robby helped organize the founding of Mní Wičóni Legal Defense/Offense Committee to support Water Protectors making a 1851 treaty stand against the Goverments arrests and trumped up charges at Standing Rock.
At the American Indian Film Festival in San Franciso, EARTH REVOLUTION won Best Music Video and Robby and Ta'Kaiya performed live with a call to action for Standing Rock.
In December Robby joined Fiona Apple, TV On The Radio, Patricia Arquette, and many more at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood calling on the entertainment industry, friends and fans to #StandWithStanding Rock. While in Hollywood Robby joined Jane Fonda, Lilly Tomlin and Frances Fisher, in a peaceful march to #DeFundDAPL by calling for the divestment in banks that fund the fossil foolish industry. The Global fossil-fuel divestment movement has thus far divested nearly $5.5. billion and counting.
By the end of the year Cultural Survival Magazine asked Robby for permission to publish his photography and to write an exclusive article on his leadership, experience and work at Standing Rock. Robby’s photography and article are featured in the the 2016 and 2017 winter publications of Cultural Survival Magazine.
BORN ON THE REZ
2017 proved to be yet another devastating year for Robby. On 29 October 2017, in the midst of several projects and campaigns, Dennis Banks, Robby's lifleong friend, brother, and mentor took his journey to the spirit world. Dennis and Robby traveled Indian Country and the world together championing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth. Robby remains committed to continuing their work for the generations to come.
Robby and Dennis Banks, with the help of producer and celebrity event organizer, Laila Nabulsi, began work on the Recording and film production of BORN ON THE REZ, the first single and music picture in a series to be recorded and filmed in support of the #Honor1851Treaty Campaign born out of Standing Rock.
The music single, recorded by Grammy Winning artists at Capitol Records, was executive produced by Dennis Banks and Laila Nabulsi, produced by Don Was, engineered by Ed Cherney, mixed by Steve Addabbo, mastered by Howie Weinberg, and features some of the music industry’s and Indian Country’s most eminent musicians and warrior outlaws. The chorus Mní Wičóni Water Is Life features Water Protectors and supporters including Victoria Asher, Dennis Banks, Ta’Kayia Blaney, Gary Farmer, Frances Fisher, Robert Mirabal, Bobby Neuwirth, Dakota Romero, Chris Stills, Raye Zaragoza, and the legendary singer-songwriter/actor Kris Kristofferson.
On 15 April 2017, Robby joined family and friends for Dennis Banks' 80th birthday celebration and roast at the Northern Lights Casino and Resort on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.
On Mother Earth Day, 22 April 2017, Robby and Dennis, along with singer-songwriter, Raye Zaragoza, performed and spoke at UCLA for their Native American Education Program.
ETE presented the 4th annual Dennis Hopper Day happening at the Taos Center For Performing Arts. ETE introduced the Twia Kitchen Buffalo BBQ to the lineup of events that include the Easy Rider Rally and Ride, Rebal Film Festival, and Comemeration Concert.
"Hollywood Icon Dennis Hopper to be honored in Taos" - KRQE
On December 30, 2017, Robby joined Robert Mirabal and Smashing Pumpkins lead-singer, Billy Corgan for a impromptu holiday performance at KTAOS World Famous Solor Raido pavilion, in Taos, New Mexico.
On 27 February 2018, Robby participated in the honoring of Dennis Banks at the 45th anniversary of Wounded Knee 1973 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The Taos Environmental Film Festival, in partnership with the University of New Mexico-Taos Digital Media Arts program, presented a special Mother Earth Day Celebration at the UNM-Taos Bataan Hall showcasing a collection of Robby's music pictures and PSA's.
29 April 2018 marked the 150th Anniversary of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. Robby joined a historic Treaty Ride through 1851 Treaty Land. Treaty Riders rode more than 400 miles on horseback from Standing Rock into Fort Laramie to challenge the US Government and its Congress to #RightTheWrong and #HonorTheTreaties.
On 17 September 2018 Native Children's Survival launched the #Honor1851Treaty petition campaign with MoveOn.org. The mission is to generate over a million petition signatures to challenge the U.S. and its' Congress to #RightTheWrong of at least one of more than 500 broken treaties made with Native Nations. The petition will be presented to the U.S. Comgress on the 50th Anniversary of The Trail of Broken Treaties, scheduled for 17 September 2022.
The Oceti Sakowin screening of the BORN ON THE REZ music picture was held on 23 September with the critically-aclaimed documentary, WARRIOR WOMEN, a film about mothers and daughters fighting for Indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s. The screening was held at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, South Dakota.
BORN ON THE REZ screened on 9 October at the University of California, "Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration" hosted by the American Indian Studies Center in Los Angeles, California — and with WARRIOR WOMEN at the University of New Mexico,"Red Power Revolution Speakers Series" in Albquerque, New Mexico.
In Honor of NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH (November 2018) Eagle Thunder Records announced the pre-release of the 25th ANNIVERSARY of Robby Romero’s groundbreaking and critically acclaimed EP RED THUNDER — spotlighting the new track, BORN ON THE REZ.
Robby took the #Honor1851Treaty campaign on the Red Road with interviews and live performances on Native Radio, National Public Radio, and Americana and Triple A Radio stations. The #Honor1851Treaty Radio Tour included stops from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to Atlanta, Georgia — and from the Southern Ute Indian Reservation to Nashville, Tennessee.