In the few short weeks since Sarah Ortegon joined the Sacajawea project, she has added so much to the production and lifted the energy that drives our magnificent quest. What a joy to get to know this gifted and spiritually-driven young woman. But, before I tell you about Sarah, I want to explain, personally, why she means so much to me. And, why I am deeply grateful for her Shoshone association, her life and the experiences that brought her to Sacajawea’s story.
When I began writing Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, I didn’t understand the depth of purpose and the powerful spiritual connections that would be required along this harrowing, yet magical path. I always knew in my heart Sacajawea deserved for the world to truly know her, not through my physical eyes (because I could not fully see), but through Spirit and the cultures and traditions she lived and loved.
So, on three occasions, between 2011 and 2013, I journeyed to Idaho to meet with Sacajawea’s People, the Agai-dika Shoshone. I developed a meaningful relationship with liaison, Leo Ariwite, a descendant of Sacajawea’s family. Leo and I presented the project together to council members and associates.
I share this because I want you to know our greatest passion is that Sacajawea’s People know the story we are telling and that the character portrayal of Sacajawea is true, through her eyes. What stirred my joy when executive producer, Blaine Ginther, introduced Sarah Ortegon to our production team was her genuine, life-long devotion to Sacajawea, her challenging and illuminating life experiences, her faith, and most of all, her wise spirit.
Sarah Ortegon was born in Denver, Colorado. She is enrolled Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho. In 2013, she graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, with a concentration in drawing. In August 2013, she was crowned Miss Native American, USA. Soon after, Sarah started touring with the Native Pride Dancers, traveling and performing the jingle dress dance in the US, Moldova, Europe and Guatemala.
Sarah was the featured artist for the opening of MALCS Conference in 2016, at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. She is now published in the MALCS journal.
Most recently, Sarah is pursuing her acting career. She was cast in a play in Denver, CO, in February of 2016, entitled Black Elk Speaks. From there, she was cast in a musical Sitting Bulls Last Waltz, which premiered in Hollywood, California, for the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June-July of 2016. Sarah was also cast as an extra in the BBC/NBC Sky 1 miniseries, Jamestown, which filmed in Budapest in August 2016, for a 2017 showing. Sarah returned for season three of Jamestown, in 2017.
Outside of her acting career, Sarah honed her project management and organizational skills as an office manager for a law firm, Smith & Shellenberger, LLC, which focuses on Indian Law and Family Law. She also continues her art career for the Dawson Art project in Colorado Springs where she will have a solo art show.
Sarah Ortegon brings a genuine love to the Sacajawea production team. Her Indigenous connection to the Shoshone and Arapaho people gives her the Spirit, Mind and Body to capture truth and authenticity for the story, which is at the heart of what we are called to do. We welcome Sarah, and look forward to greatness, as more opportunities unfold for her on the Sacajawea production. Let us soar to new heights!
Jane L. Fitzpatrick, Writer/Executive Producer