About

MISSION

The Indigenous Arts Institute (InArts) is dedicated to promoting Indigenous Peoples in film & television, visual arts, performing arts and media through education about Indigenous Peoples issues, stories, cultures and life-ways.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Tim Harjo – President

Tim Harjo has had a distinguished career in public service work. Tim has been practicing law for over fifteen years representing numerous tribes, tribal organizations, and individual clients.  Mr. Harjo currently serves as the Chairman of Amerind Media Group, a digital media distribution company that recently launched the NativeFlix service. Over the past twenty years, Tim has served on various government and non-profit boards, commissions, and working groups dealing with economic development, constitution reform, and housing issues among others. Tim holds a Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University, a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University, and Master’s degree in Business Administration from California State University.  Tim earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Fort Lewis College. Tim is member of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe and is also of Seminole and Comanche descent.

Marjorie Tanin – Vice President

Marjorie Tanin is a member of the Santa Clara Pueblo tribe of New Mexico. She was born and raised on her reservation and is still fluent in the Tewa language. She still maintains her traditional ways and is of the Winter Clan. Marorie is an actor and a casting consultant. She became involved in the entertainment industry in 1987 and is a member of the SAG/AFTRA Guild. She was very active in the American Indian Registry, casting Native American Indians in various roles, as well as serving as a consultant on many television and film projects. Aside from her career in the entertainment industry she volunteers many hours of her time to the American Indian community. From 1994 to 1998 she was the Vice-Chair of the Screen Actors Guild Native American Sub-Committee. She also served on the E.E.O. Steering Committee along with the Ethnic Women’s Committee. She was the main force behind the Native American talent Directory that SAG distributed nationwide. She has served as an advisor for the Screen Actors Guild Native American President’s Task Force. She is on the advisory board of Native Voices at the Autry, and serves as a consultant for Project HOOP, (Honoring Our Origins and People). Project HOOP is a national multidisciplinary initiative to advance Native American theater and performing arts throughout Indian country. Her goal is to have more Native actors portrayed in Film, Television and in all facets of the entertainment media and become prominent in the American Scene.

Sharyn Steele – Secretary/ Treasurer 

Sharyn Steele is an enrolled member of the Wisconsin Ho-Chunk Nation. She graduated from Dartmouth College with double majors in English and Film before earning an MFA from USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program, where she was the first Native American to attend. She was a development executive at Gold Circle Films and WWE Studios where she oversaw film and television projects before becoming an independent producer. She also serves on the Executive Boards of the Native American Alumni Association at Dartmouth, Dartmouth Alumni in Entertainment and Media, Dartmouth Club Los Angeles and The Indigenous Arts Institute. Most recently, she was a Native American and Indigenous Program, Time Warner Foundation Native Producer Fellow through Sundance.

Kaliko Hurely – Board Member

Kaliko Hurley served as the Community Relations Manager for the Walt Disney Animation Studios feature MOANA. In the studio’s first-ever cross-departmental role, Kaliko provided guidance and direction on all Pacific Islander (PI) cultural matters within MOANA for the studio production, publicity, marketing and business & legal affairs teams – and for the greater Disney company. Under MOANA producer Osnat Shurer, Kaliko led relationships with the film’s PI consultants (“Oceanic Story Trust”) and served as a cultural creative lead for production in story, visuals development, modeling, animation, technical animation and lighting. Working in publicity under department head Amy Astley, Kaliko launched MOANA in theatrical and In Home campaigns and reviewed all press materials, releases and presentations and marketing materials including posters, trailers, digital campaigns, consumer products, publishing, parks and interactive. Kaliko also served as a personal publicist for lead actress Auliʻi Cravalho (voice of “Moana”).

Prior to Disney, Kaliko worked at 21st Century Fox as a Special Projects Manager for the Fox Audience Strategy department where she supported the multicultural marketing and publicity efforts for the company’s entertainment businesses, including: Fox Searchlight (12 YEARS A SLAVE, BIRDMAN), Fox Animation (RIO 2, THE BOOK OF LIFE, THE PEANUTS MOVIE), Fox Broadcasting Company (EMPIRE, GLEE, COSMOS, SYTYCD), 20th Century Fox Television (FRESH OFF THE BOAT, CRISTELA), FX (AMERICAN HORROR STORY) and Fox Sports.

Prior to Fox, Kaliko worked in entertainment law and public interest law supporting American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. Kaliko received her JD from UCLA LAW and her bachelor’s degree with honors in economics from Stanford University.

Maya Martinez – Board Member

Maya Martinez first became involved in Film production after working in fundraising and event producing while in Los Angeles in 2002. Her carrier quickly became focused in film after meeting many Film industry professionals & artists. She became more and more intrigued with the desire to further understand the medium of filmmaking and its ever-changing technological advancements. She was drawn into this new artistic field as a continuation of the “Story Telling” tradition from her Native American heritage. Maya being an artist herself, who went to the world renowned School of the Art Institute of Chicago, quickly became immersed in Producing Visual Effects for feature films. Her passion for art & culture fueled her desire to integrate the new immerging technologies that were being developed for visual effects in film and television to be used as a medium to preserve our cultural histories. She began working with researchers in the VFX field to implement techniques previously used for Feature films to digitize Native American & Indigenous Cultural artifacts as well other international culturally significant works of art and antiquities around the world.

She has worked as a Producer & Visual Effects Producer on Feature Films, Animations, Commercials & Music Videos. Her experience in Film & Film Production continued to grow while working with institutions world wide such as – AFI, Sony Pictures Imageworks, WETA Digital and many more. Throughout her carrier she has continued to work with various research and technology development groups internationally to further the use of VFX & Film techniques to digitize and preserve cultural artifacts. This work lead to her being involved in several international multi-media art installations using these cross platform technologies.

Her love of art, artists & innovators lead her to further her carrier producing and serving as Board Member and Board Chair for several Film Festivals in New Zealand, France, Spain, Vancouver, Los Angeles & Santa Fe New Mexico, as well as many more. While producing one of the largest Visual Effect Film Festivals Ms. Martinez S. implemented it’s First Multicultural Call and Outreach program directed towards minorities, Native American & Indigenous groups world wide to participate. Her work through film festivals allowed her to bring together multi cultural content, and artists from around the world all with one common language FILM.

Jessica Marisol Harjo – Executive Director

Jessica Harjo holds a B.S. in Film, Media, and Social Justice with an emphasis in Producing and holds an M.B.A. with a concentration in Project Management from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She is a member of the International Honor Society in Business, Management and Administration. Jessica is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the internationally recognized Project Management Institute.

She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Indigenous Arts Institute. She specializes in non-profit grants management, human resources, event logistics, administrative and financial operations. She has a background in the disciplines of theater, photography, film and television. She began her career as a dancer, trained in ballet, modern and jazz dance. For over twelve years she competed in nationally award winning and internationally recognized color guard groups, including the Concord Blue Devils and then performed professionally as a featured performer in the national tour of the Tony Award winning show Blast and CyberJam at the Queens Theater in London’s west end. She has toured and performed in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Canada and Japan. She was also a former dancer for Dancing Earth Creations – Indigenous Contemporary Dance Company (www.dancingearth.org). She has had the opportunity to work on acclaimed productions including, Wicked, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Her film and television experience include being a television host/personality on the PBS and ESPN2 broadcast of Drum Corps International World Championships. She has also worked on various film and television projects as a director, producer, producer’s assistant, second assistant director, and script supervisor and is the Co-Founder of NativeFlix an Indigenous focused online video streaming company. Her career is focused on supporting Indigenous Peoples, particularly in the realm of art, social justice and representation in massive media. She is of Japanese, Filipino, Chicana and San Carlos Apache ancestry originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, California. She now enjoys living in New Mexico with her family.

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