Nevada Stories is an online video series that focuses on folk and traditional artists, specific local traditions, and Nevada’s landscape. It supports the Arts Council’s outreach to provide folklife education to all age groups and the Nevada Commission on Tourism by highlighting individuals, communities, and sites that stimulate interest in cultural and heritage tourism. This ongoing project is supported, in part, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Click on the links below to visit master artists and learn more about Nevada’s traditional arts


Pipe Makers of the Great Basin

Hilman Tobey, a Northern Paiute living at Reno Sparks Indian Colony, makes stone-bowled pipes for use in traditional ceremonies. This short film captures master artist Tobey teaching pipe-making skills to apprentice Norman Zuniga under the auspices of a Nevada Arts Council Folklife Apprenticeship Grant. Mr. Tobey, who just celebrated his 100th birthday, talks about the materials and tools used to make pipes as well as the origins and uses of ceremonial pipes in prayer. Filmed by Gabe Lopez Shaw for the Folklife Program of the Nevada Arts Council with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

johnrupert_icon A Young Face of Washo Tradition

Young John Rupert, a Carson City elementary school student, is engaged in learning as much as he can about local tribal tradtions. We follow him to two different sites that have significance for him and hear him talk about some of the things that he has been learning from various elders.

billmalloyicon2006 Governor's Arts Award Winner
Bill Maloy: Saddles

Bill Maloy was a renowned saddle maker and silversmith. He opened his first saddle shop in Reno in 1959 at the age of 22, and continued to build hand-crafted saddles, prized and collected, as well as used by cowboys and celebrities up until a few months before his passing in March 2011.

douggrovesicon2009 Governor's Arts Award Winner

Doug Groves: Rawhider

When true artisanship takes the functional beyond necessity, craft becomes art. Doug Groves’ braided rawhide horse gear exemplifies this perfect marriage of beauty and utility. Groves started making horse tack—riatas, quirts, reins, buttons, and more—over thirty years ago.

elizabeth_bradyicon2005 Governor's Arts Award Winner

Elizabeth Brady: Shoshone Master Artist

Elizabeth Brady once sang Shoshone songs on a drive all the way from Phoenix to Las Vegas, and did not repeat once. Her daughter Lois Whitney was amazed—she knew her mother came from a strongly traditional family, and that Elizabeth’s parents Jerry and Judy Jackson were renowned singers and storytellers, but she had not understood the depth of her mother’s knowledge until then.

To learn more about Native American Basketmaking in Nevada, go to, 
Home Means Nevada 1896: Folklife in Nevada Historic Radio Series

basquefestival Euskal Jaiak: Celebrating Basque Culture:

For the last 50 years, Basque families from throughout the American West have gathered in Elko, Nevada on 4th of July weekend to celebrate their culture and the opportunities afforded them in the USA. Filmed over the three days of the 2013 National Basque Festival, “Euskal Jaiak: Celebrating Basque Culture” offers the viewer an all-embracing view of this multi-faceted event.  
To learn more about Basque's in Nevada, go to,
Home Means Nevada 1896: Folklife in Nevada Historic Radio Series

arborglyphs Hunting the Mountain Picassos

For more than half a century, Jean and Phillip Earl of Reno have used clues from old maps, letters, and books to hunt for and document “Mountain Picassos,” distinctive figures carved into aspen trees found in the high country meadows of the Great Basin. These figures-- along with names, dates, and sayings-- were carved by Basque sheepherders in the early to mid-20th century.

ixelamvivoicon2007 Governor's Arts Award Winner

2019 Nevada Heritage Award Winner

Ixela Gutierrez and Mexico Vivo

Each region of Mexico has its own style of costume, music, and dance that have been carried down for hundreds of years. One of the most popular and well-known types of performing groups, both in Mexico and in Mexican-American communities, is the folklorico dance troupe, which performs dances of many regions. As a way to maintain a sense of cultural identity amid the frenzy of change in Las Vegas, folkloric dance plays an important role in the Mexican American community.


Making Lefse

Doris Howell of Carson City demonstrates the Norwegian tradition of making lefse, potato-based flat bread, which has been passed down in her family for generations.

mike_williamsicon2008 Governor's Arts Award Winner

Mike Williams: Duck Decoys and Tule Work

Native artist Mike Williams creates duck decoys in the ancient style that goes back to Nevada’s archaeological record. “The People of the Marsh” – ancestors of the Numu (Northern Paiute)—were resident in Nevada many thousands of years before they encountered Euro-Americans. They lived in proximity to large lakes and wetlands where their lives were sustained by the native vegetation and wildlife. Fish and waterfowl were central to their diet, and the wetland reeds and grasses provided the materials for their housing and clothing, as well as their hunting, gathering, and fishing equipment.  Mike Williams has studied the materials and techniques of his ancient ancestors and uses them to recreate their world – from duck and goose decoys to egg bags, fish traps, boats, and Tule houses.


Northern Paiute Powwow Regalia: Personal and Community Meanings

Filmed on location at the Yerington Paiute Tribal Headquarters and the Pyramid Lake Museum, Northern Paiute Powwow Regalia presents interviews with tribal members about their traditional dance outfits. The distinctive styles of clothing worn by dancers during a Powwow are called regalia or outfits. Powwow outfits are not worn casually, but for events that have personal, spiritual, cultural, and/or community significance, as do the individual elements of the outfits themselves.


ralphburnsstonemothericon2010 Nevada Heritage Award Winner

2013 National
Heritage Fellowship Award

Ralph Burns: Telling Place: The Stone Mother at Pyramid Lake

Ralph Burns is an accomplished language teacher and knowledgeable about the oral traditions of Paiute culture. He regularly tells traditional stories, myths and legends in both Paiute and in English. Here he tells a mythological tale about the Stone Mother, that explains the origins of his people. He tells the story at the actual site of the dramatic Stone Mother figure, a tufa formation on the shores of Pyramid Lake. The Stone Mother is an important figure in the storytelling of several tribes.

rieko shimbo-taiko-icon2011 Governor's Arts Award Winner

Rieko Shimbo: Tsurunokai:Reno Taiko

A visit with Taiko drumming Master Rieko Shimbo and her Reno-based multicultural performing group at a rehearsal.


Sticks and Bones: Paiute Hand Games

Native American tribes have been playing versions of the Hand Game (or Stick Game) since before recorded history. Oral tradition and historic documentation indicate that the gambling games were once played for such high stakes as land use. Contemporary tribes usually play for money or prizes. The game is played with two pairs of “bones,” (traditionally made from deer shin bones), each consisting of one plain and one striped bone, and ten to twelve counting sticks, which are divided equally between the two opposing teams. 

supatrathaidanceicon2010 Governor's Arts Award Winner

Supatra Chemprachum and the Thai Cultural Arts Association

Born in Thailand, Supatra Chemprachum moved to Las Vegas in 1986. She learned folk and classical Thai dances and how to teach them from her mother, who was a well-known performer in Bangkok. Supatra founded the Thai Cultural Arts Association (TCAA) in 1993 to preserve and promote Thai traditions in Las Vegas. Her deep knowledge of Thai culture and traditions are evident in the elaborate costuming, intricate choreography, and informative explanations included in the dance productions she presents.


Tradition Behind the Scenes: The Nevada State Basketry Collection

A visit with Curator of Anthropology Eugene Hattori and anthropologist Kay Fowler at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City to see some of the incredible baskets in the museum collection and to learn something about Northern Nevada Paiute, Shoshone, and Washo basketry traditions.


Training Stock Dogs

Working dogs have been an important part of ranch life and work since the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the West. This Nevada Story takes us to the Haase Ranch in the Carson Valley to see how the dogs are trained.


Tying our World Together: Gathering Dogbane

Dogbane is a plant traditionally employed by the Northern Paiute people for making string used to weave nets and traps for small game such as rabbits and birds. Donna Cossette takes us to gather the plant in its natural habitat and demonstrates the beginning stages of processing it for cordage. 


Vida en Muerte: The Life in Death Festival

The Day of the Dead is an important holiday in Mexican and Mexican-American culture. We join the multi-day/night celebration at the Winchester Cultural Center in Las Vegas to learn about some of the enduring traditions.

wmitchellNevada Heritage Award

Waddie Mitchell: Cowboy Poet

From his earliest days on the remote Nevada ranches where his father worked, Waddie Mitchell was immersed in the cowboy way of entertaining, the art of spinnin’ tales in rhyme and meter that came to be called cowboy poetry, a Western tradition that is as rich as the lifestyle that gave birth to it. Waddie has become an icon of Nevada, of buckaroo culture (cowboys of the Great Basin), and of cowboy poetry itself.


Year of the Dragon: Chinese New Year Las Vegas Style

The celebration of Chinese New Year is significant in many Asian cultures. Las Vegas has a large resident Chinese population and is a destination of choice for Chinese and other Asian tourists during their New Year. With the assistance of Feng Shui consultant Peter Lung, we learn how Chinese traditions are observed in Las Vegas – both in Chinese homes and in the casino!


Zeny Ocean: Reno Balalaika Orchestra

Reno’s  Sierra Nevada Balalaika Society orchestra has performed at numerous civic events, schools, public concerts, and private occasions. Now in its third decade, the SNBS provides quality music to the Reno area, and has become one of the region's richest cultural resources.