Head & shoulders of Monte Yellowbird dressed in native garb, talking into microphone w/ native slide on wall in background


General Artist Information

Name: Monte Yellowbird Sr. - Black Pinto Horse
Artist Discipline: Folk/Traditional
Grade Level Preference: K-12, advanced adult classes available as well
Geographic Availability: Throughout North Dakota
Fee per-day: $240 per day
Phone Number: 701-230-1289


Monte Yellow Bird Sr., or better known in the art world as BLACK PINTO HORSE, is an Arikara/Hidatsa from the Three Affiliated Tribes who grew up in White Shield North Dakota.  As an award-winning artist, Black Pinto Horse focuses on incorporating his heritage, spiritual, and oral traditions into contemporary forms of visual art, expression, and education.

Discovering art at an early age and growing up on a reservation in a large family of limited means led to his attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe NM at 16 years of age. From there, Black Horse Pinto studied Studio Art/History Ed at NDSU and Minot State University where he graduated with a bachelors in studio art. What began as a means for replacing idle hands as a child, has evolved into a heartfelt and lifelong journey of successfully sharing his love of culture, traditional teaching, and artistic expression worldwide.

His use of a diverse array of mediums, visual narratives and cultural subject matter is influenced by his past and present experiences with culture, his mother’s faith and teachings, his father’s dedication and tenacity, and all the people who have shared their worlds with Black Pinto Horse the artist.  

Teaching Philosophy

As an educator, I believe effective communication with students begins by establishing a healthy setting that is conducive to a creative learning environment. I strive to create a space of trust and honesty with my audience by sharing my life story and the many teachings that provided guidance and enabled me to become what I am today. From there, I work to further connect with students on a personal level through both traditional and contemporary stories. Seeing the often-negative impacts of today's media on students and their communities, the importance of providing opportunities to engage and connect through the incorporation of traditional oral communications and visual expression is great and doing so creates a better future for all.

Sample Residency Information

Residency Title: Historic Ledger Art: Redefining our values through accountability and projection

Grade Level: Middle School

Number of Sessions: 10, 50-minute working sessions


This residency will draw inspiration from the history of 1800's indigenous (Indian) plains ledger art which demonstrates the resilience of indigenous peoples to western expansion and manifest destiny by redefining themselves for survival. Using these concepts, students will create their own response on accounting paper in the form of contemporary ledger art. The residency will conclude with a peer-to-peer sharing of completed student ledgers.

Short Lesson Plan

Prior to the workshop students will be given a questionnaire to share and complete with their family in order to gain historical and cultural information that will be added to their project.

The actual residency will begin with a visual presentation of my life story and works of arts. This will be followed by a presentation on the history of ledger art, an introduction/demonstration of the process, and discussion of goals and desired outcomes.

  1. A traditional story "The Porcupine and The Buffalo" will be shared with students to engage their “mind movies” (imagination/creativity) and to teach students about building healthy relationships by establishing boundaries.
  2. An introduction to the 7 elements of composition, followed by an exercise on the use of line and music will be shared to demonstrate how we are influenced by music and the various ways in which we can apply/create expression.
  3. Accounting paper will be distributed to students which will be asked to create a timed list of what they value in their lives, along with a dollar amount for each item.
  4. In the center of the accounting paper, students will be asked to create a list of 4 things that they remember/learned from the presentation.
  5. On the bottom center of the paper, students will be asked to create a sentence of one thing they learned and how they can use it in their lives.
  6. A color theory lesson will be shared to assist students with color representation and story presentation.
  7. Students will utilize all the information to create on prepared accounting paper their greatest accomplishment, their own personal ledger story.
  8. Students will present their projects orally in front of their peers to share the importance of their own story and discover how they are connected as a community.