Growing up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Northern Montana I was raised with the "ponoka'o'mita" (Blackfeet for horse). I have always had a close relationship with the horse. They have played a huge role not only in my art, but in my life as well. Rodeo has allowed me to spend the majority of everyday with these amazing creatures. I am a past All Around Cowgirl, and continue to rodeo, in barrel racing, breakaway roping and horse racing. Horses have been part of my greatest highs and achievements, but they also have taught me humility and kept me grounded.

Sammy has had a close relationship with horses and it is that relationship she “tries to portray through my paintings,” she said. 

 “I am able to do the two things I love the most for a career, ride my horses and paint. I am very blessed for the opportunities God has put before me,” she said. “I think it is important for people to know that it is never too late to set goals and go after them. No matter your age, where you are from or what your situation is, you can still become everything you have ever dreamed of being.”

In this crazy world that we all live in, horses and art are my escape. They are my escape from all my stress and my escape from all my worries. They are the place where I can go to take a deep breath and realize everything is going to be okay. They are also the place where I feel the most blessed.  

Growing up on the reservation helped me to appreciate and respect not only the horse but all of mother nature's animals. It also showed me how unjust, tragic, and hard life can be, not only for the animals but for our people as well. These are the experiences and emotions that fuel my passion for painting.  I truly believe that just one painting can make a difference. It can make a difference in a community, a home, in the world if it influences just one person. 

The difference can be small or great as long as it influences someone's world: whether it is selling a painting for someone's benefit at a fundraising auction or simply someone glancing at a painting and it making their day a little better. 

The drive and passion behind my art is not only my love for animals but my love for people. I want my paintings to help people, make people smile and make a positive statement. I want my paintings to be someone's escape.

Sammy Jo Bird

Awakasiaki

(Deer Woman)