This horse (Sacred Dog) illustrates the Rites of Passage for an individual; the green applied demonstrates growth, as one experience’s life’s struggles and successes during their journey of color, vision, truth and choice towards adulthood. 

Through the vibrant application of paint and use of First Nation icons, I pay tribute to this significant time in our lives; a spiritual gateway from childhood to adulthood- blue symbolizes holiness and orange, the beginning and ending of the sacred transitions of life. 

Male Side: Young First Nation men are also instructed by elders to understand their place in society.  The four horse tracks symbolize the warrior’s footsteps towards greater responsibility and a Tree of Life denotes the past, present and future generations that are present during this ceremony.

* Significance of the horse to Black Pinto Horse, Monte Yellow Bird, artist, storyteller and educator,
The horse was a blessing and a gift to the First Nation peoples.  In the Arikara language there is no specific word for horse; the combination of the words “holy” or “sacred” and “dog” make up the word for Horse, “Holy Dog”.  As a horseman, I have always had a close connection with the Sacred Dog, the carrier of my prayers to Creator and I sign my paintings using the name I have been given through ceremony, Black Pinto Horse.”