in traditional Native American outfit, Moapa youth Sierra
Reel prepares to perform at the State Capitol just before
Governor Sandoval's State of the State address last week.
One Moapa youth proudly brought the heritage and culture of
the southern Paiutes to the Nevada State Capitol last week. Sierra
Reel, 17, was asked to perform a special song at a program leading
up to the State of the State address by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval
on Sunday, January 15 in Carson City.
The song entitled, "Red, White and Blue," blends the traditional
Paiute/Shoshone language with an expression of American patriotism.
For the program, held in the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol
building just before the speech, the Governor's staff had planned
to highlight the accomplishments of Nevada's youth. Several youth
throughout the state were asked to perform.
Reel was selected when the Governor's Communications Director,
Mari St. Martin, researched Paiute songs online. She said that she
found a video posted by an organization called Roots to Rising Youth
Media Project. Established by local resident Deborah Bagley, Roots
to Rising is a leadership, arts and media project that aims to help
southern Nevada Paiute youth to explore their creativity and culture
and develop their own voice.
The online video which featured Reel singing "Red, White and
Blue" was directed by MVHS graduate Audrey Bagley to promote the
Southern Paiute culture. In addition to featuring Reel singing the
song, it also highlights other tribal members performing traditional
St. Martin saw the online video and realized that Reel would
be a perfect fit for the Governor's program. She contacted Reel
and invited her to travel to Carson City to perform the song.
Reel said that the prestigious invitation had come as a complete
"I was really shocked," Reel said in an interview last week.
"But I was also grateful that they had found that video and had
recognized the work that we did in getting our heritage out there."
Reel said that the hall was packed that night. The Assembly
Chamber floor was packed with attendees as was the gallery above.
But Reel was not particularly nervous about performing to such a
large audience of people. After all, she knew her material very
"I have been singing that song for different events and venues
since I was eight years old," she said. "A lot of people have listened
to it and enjoyed it. So it was just another chance for me to sing
Reel was recognized as the 2016 American Indian Youth Ambassador
by the Nevada Indian Commission in November. She is a member of
the Moapa Band of Paiutes and is currently a junior at Moapa Valley
She is a fine example of the exciting potential of the great
Paiute youth of Nevada when given experience and exposure through
organizations like these," said Roots to Rising founder Deborah
Bagley. "We are grateful to Governor Sandoval for giving her this
opportunity to represent American Indian youth, and so pleased with
Sierra's example and beautiful performance."
More information about Roots to Rising can be found at www.facebook.com/RootstoRising.
to Rising Youth Media Project
The Roots to Rising Youth Media Project is a non-profit film-making,
arts, and leadership project that desires to serve the youth of
the Moapa Band of Paiutes and Moapa Valley with a hands-on mobile
media studio with the aspirations to grow to larger studio capacities.
The film-making crews and artists consist of local youth and Hollywood
and film-making student mentors. It is endorsed by the Moapa Band
of Paiutes, local artists, museums, educational and community programs.