Zoë Marieh Urness is a Tlingit Alaskan Native whose portraits of modern Natives in traditional regalia and settings, aim to send a message; "We are here. And we are thriving, through our traditions".

Her unique style fuses documentary and fine art, with her imagery simultaneously reflecting the sensitivity and the ancestral strength of her subjects. Educated at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA, Zoe's current project focuses exclusively on sharing beautiful, powerful images of Indigenous Americans, and the lands and traditions they hold dear.

Most recently she has visited the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the Hopi at Second Mesa, the Apache Crown Dancers at Monumental Valley, and the Alaskan natives at the biennial Celebration in Juneau.

She has showed abroad in the United Kingdom and has made show appearances at Photo L.A., During Art Basel Miami showing at SPECTRUM, the Heard Market, Native Treasures, and made her second appearance on the plaza at Indian Market. Winning three blue ribbons combined in her first and second year including, Best in Division, Best in Category, both her first and second year at SWAIA market.

Since April of this year, Urness, who is Tlingit and Cherokee, has been traveling the western United States, shooting the ceremonies, dances and regalia of Native Americans for her ambitious photo series, Native Americans: Keeping the Traditions Alive. Using her art to help preserve the traditions of indigenous people, she produces photos that serve to connect the old ways to the modern-day realities of the Native world.

The importance of passing on tradition through storytelling, dance and song is deeply ingrained in Native American life, and Urness has managed to not only participate in this sacred heritage in a stylish and contemporary manner, but through her diligent documentation is sharing the ways of those whom she honors with a wider audience.

Gaining traction largely through word of mouth, the series has grown organically and exponentially as one subject leads Urness to the next, and what began as a solitary endeavor has blossomed into a communal effort, unconstrained by tribe or borders.

Responses to "Tlingit Photographer travels the United States to shoot the ceremonies of Native Americans"

  1. Incredible artistry and lovely to see traditions strong and alive being recognized.

  2. Unknown says:

    Simply spectacular.

  3. Very nice. Look forward to seeing the book when it comes out.

  4. Unknown says:

    SO very beautiful! Thanks for sharing this Work!

  5. Wow....amazing photos and what a wonderful life of work to make these awesome traditions better known and understood...

  6. As someone who's been photographing modern Native Americans for over 25 years, I'm blown away. Exceptional work. i can't wait to see more Zoe's work!

  7. interzone says:

    wonderfull. I wish there were info for each photo. eg the 4th photo from above: is there someone holding an eagle and why the other tents are burning? from above: who are those people? etc. whenever I see pictures of native people from anywhere in the world the similarities with other natives attract my attention and make me think that nations are made up

  8. Susan says:

    Truly phenomenal photographs - gorgeous, powerful, spiritual and dreamy. BRAVO!

  9. That is simply awesome. Wonderful thing to do. To share.

  10. Unknown says:

    absolutely stunning. thank you for capturing these moments, and to the subjects for sharing them.

  11. Unbelievably powerful

  12. Hope you will go to Acoma-Laguna

  13. Powerful magical work, Thank You! <3

  14. Jude says:

    Wow, incredible ceremonies, people and photos - thank you

  15. Very nice creativity on these .. EXCELLENT Photography

  16. Thank-You ...Epic Beautiful Resonate depictions of Sacred Images...Love... Cree is in my Blood.

  17. SuperNuge says:

    Some great photos! Thanks!

  18. MKB says:

    These make my heart sing. Never stop.

  19. Maurrie says:

    These photos make my heart soar..thank you for your eye...Maurrie from Sisters on the Fly

  20. Unknown says:

    She seems to be commenting on how Edward Curtis' images dominate our (settler and native) understanding of native cultures. The use of sepia, the bckgrounds and the obviously posed nature of the subjects invoke his work. Perhaps she is demonstrating that we can't avoid the influence of historical, not necessarily authentic, representations.

  21. Unknown says:

    Love these.... Art Like! Beautiful !

  22. Bex says:

    I'd buy this book!

  23. Very impressive images! These should certainly gain a wider audience.

  24. Unknown says:

    So beautiful it touched me looking at these pictures 📷 I'm so proud of where I come from I can't wait to find out more information. Part of me is lost until I remember I'm tlingit and haida and Cherokee and German and I am strong and my ancestors and grandfather's and grandmothers are watching and helping understand and learn the ways.

  25. Unknown says:

    Historical Value! So Awesome!

  26. I love this page! Such a good reading.

  27. loveEliz says:

    These are such beautifully done photos. I look forward to the book and discussions of each photo and what it represents. I would love to put some of the photos in a small weekly out of The Farm in Tennessee, Freedom Press, and promote the work Zoe is doing, if that would be helpful.

  28. Wonderful depictions of cultural legacies. Artful and spiritual.

  29. great photos and Dances Books please open on Telegram and other Independent free media you could share on my page

  30. Anonymous says:


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