Sammy Dawson, born in Alert Bay, BC in 1976, belongs to the Kwakwaka'wakw People. While growing up in Alert Bay, Sammy had early on started to watch the local carvers and his grandfather Chief William Robertson create masks and other carvings for the local potlatches. His mother is from the Tsawatainuk First Nation and his father is from the island village First Nation of Mamalilikulla. It was William who gave Sammy the cultural name of Giyosdisalas, which means Leading the Way.
He started carving when he was 12 years old. He apprenticed under Simon Dick and Eddie McDougal and worked together with many local carvers. Sammy is a leader amongst his peers and has become a very collectable artist that is represented in many of the top native art galleries.