top of page


JoAnne Bird was born in Oakland, California in 1945, and was raised in northeastern South Dakota by her grandmother. Her grandmother played a major role in her creative education, from infancy to young adulthood. JoAnne is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and was raised on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Indian Reservation in eastern South Dakota. She now resides in Bushnell, South Dakota with her husband, Gordon, and their three daughters.


In addition to art, JoAnne and her family perform contemporary, yet traditional Native American music. Gordon has a recording studio, and together they're playing a major role in preserving Native American culture. 


JoAnne knew from early childhood her destiny was to be an artist. After graduating from high school in Flandreau, South Dakota, she received art training at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota; Macalester College in St. 

Paul, Minnesota; and the Institute of American Indian Arts at Santa Fe, New Mexico.


After working for the 3M Company, she decided to leave the commercial art field to devote her life fulltime to a professional art career.


She has won numerous awards and honors for her work and in 1992 was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame as Artist of the Year. She has exhibited at the CWS Artists of the Plains Show & Sale for many years. Recently, JoAnne received an honorary doctorate degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. She was also presented with the Western American Award by Augustana College of Sioux Falls, S.D..


Everyone who owns one of JoAnne's works of art takes great pride in that ownership. Her paintings, always refreshing, never grow old and are a center of interest in any setting.


"The Calling" by JoAnne Bird


JoAnne's paintings depict her Native American heritage, mainly portraying the rich traditional way of life in a contemporary style. Much of her work is spiritual in nature and timeless. Her work often employs rich, bold colors in fluid motion presenting images of warriors and horses that seem to be approaching the viewer straight off the canvas.


Her technique and mastery of handling a paint brush with 

precision are unique: a combination of controlled paint throwing and palette knife.


JoAnne's paintings can be found in museums and private collections throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. 


In recent years, she began to make prints of her original work on canvas or watercolor paper, utilizing an increasingly acceptable popular technique known as giclée prints.

"Blue Riders"  & "White Buffalo Calf Woman" by JoAnne Bird,  both available from the Diversity Foundation Store

A video of the Dedication Ceremony for JoAnne's sculpture of Chief Wabasha II, which can be seen next to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota


JoAnne is also an accomplished bronze sculptor. Her sculptures, many larger than life, can be found throughout the United States and Europe. She has completed several municipal sculptures in Minnesota and recently unveiled a ten-foot bronze of Chief Wabasha. The sculpture can be seen next to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, 

Minnesota. More about the sculpture and its dedication can be found by clicking here.


Other sculptures are commissions of the Indian leaders "Shakopee", located in the Minnesota State Capital Building, and "Sleepy Eye", located in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.

bottom of page