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Acclaimed film about Paiute woman on tap at museum

by Joyce Hollister

JoAnne Peden’s first attempt at filmmaking was honored at the American Indian Film Festival in 1993 as the best national short documentary.

The film, now on video, can be seen at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center in conjunction with a photo exhibit on Pyramid Lake. The 28-minute video is a biography of Pyramid Lake Reservation’s Katy Frazier, called “That Was a Happy Life: A Paiute Woman Remembers.”

And on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., Peden will talk about Katy Frazier as part of the cultural center’s month-long celebration of National Women in History Month. The program will be held in the public meeting room and will last about a hour.

Peden lived for four years with Frazier when she was in her 90s. Frazier was a noted artist, known for her quilting, handmade moccasins and weaving. She was educated from the age of 8 at Stewart Indian School and as an adult was a teacher of the Paiute arts, language and culture. In 1985, she was honored as National Indian Education Elder of the Year.

Peden made sure the film, which she co-directed with Mark Gandolfo, had the funds to be completed, and she donated $3,500 of her own money for the project.

Frazier lived at the reservation at Pyramid Lake until her death in 1991 at the age of 100.

Coming next in the celebration of Women in History Month are five Scarselli Elementary School female students portraying historical personages March 20. They are Tiffi Drew, Jennifer Becker, Kileen Vandervort, Leah Kramer and Renee Johnston.

They are students of Bobbie Williams, who teaches in the gift and talented program. Williams will portray Sacajawea, the Native American woman who was guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, on March 28.

Refreshments will be served in the main hall after each presentation, which all begin at 1:30 p.m.