Culture

Navajo Portraits by Justin Merriman

1.) Clayton Long, 65, at San Juan High School on October 2, 2018 in Blanding, Utah. 2.) Tiana Sam, 16, Miss Blue Mountain Unity Princess 2017-18, photographed at San Juan High School on October 3, 2018 in Blanding, Utah. "It's important to me to save our culture and language because I'm full Navajo. Its important to pass it on to the next generation," says Sam. 3.) Marion Sequaptewa, 16, holds her great grandfather's ceremonial basket, as she is photographed at San Juan High School on October 2, 2018 in Blanding, Utah. "My Grandpa always tells me I'm not a true Navajo if I don't speak the language," she says. "It's important to me because other tribes are forgetting their language. I don't want my tribe to forget ours." 4.) Demarian Benally, 14, photographed at San Juan High School on October 2, 2018 in Blanding, Utah. Banally says, "It is important to me to save Navajo language and protect our tradition. Our culture will be stronger and others will be able to learn it." 5.) Syiera Tsosie, 14, at San Juan High School on October 2, 2018 in Blanding, Utah. "I grew up with Navajo. My mom taught me like her mother did. Navajo is passed down. Today many families are losing their traditional ways." 6.) Charlotta Lacy, a teacher at San Juan High School is photographed on October 2, 2018 in Blanding, Utah. 7.) Claramae Armajo, 14, photographed at San Juan High School on October 2, 2018 in Blanding, Utah. "My great grandmother used to speak to me in Navajo. I'm very thankful that she and my grandma taught me." 8.) Esperanzo Lee, 16, holds her Navajo flute, as she is photographed at San Juan High School on October 2, 2018 in Blanding, Utah. "It's a good thing to keep our culture and language alive. It's something we need to keep going for our youth. It brings happiness to our elders that we can share and show our culture is still here," says Lee.

Fort Armstrong Rodeo by Justin Merriman

NOLA by Justin Merriman

People march in the street during the Prince of Wales 88th anniversary second line parade in New Orleans' Irish Channel neighborhood on Oct. 9, 2016. 

A car sits in the street of New Orleans.

The Prince of Wales second line parade makes its way down a street of New Orleans' Irish Channel neighborhood on Oct. 9, 2016. 

Men dance on a float with Queen Terry during the Prince of Wales second line parade in New Orleans on Oct. 9, 2016. 

A young boy stands on top of a concrete wall at a cemetery as he watches a second line parade pass by in New Orleans. 

A young boy holds a snake during a second line parade in New Orleans. 

Homes along a New Orlean's street. 

A home in New Orlean's Garden District. 

Steph looks out of the door of our Airbnb in New Orlean's Garden District. 

A mural on the side of a building in New Orleans. 

A voodoo shrine in the French Quarter on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016.

Chopokthiinitka Taiyi, whose name translates into “Hummingbird Woman,” is the last full-blooded member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. With around 1,100 members today, many in the tribe have married into other tribal nations. Although, of its remaining members, 85 percent still speak Koasati, the native language. Known for their basket weaving, the Coushatta traditionally use Louisiana native longleaf pine needles to make their baskets.

Graves at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans. 

A man holds his pet snake in New Orleans. 

The swamps in Des Allemands, La. 

A 12-foot-long alligator climbs aboard an airboat in Des Allemands, La.

A crucifix stands in the Holy Rosary Cemetery in Killona, La., as the Dow Chemical Plant looms in the background. 

A woman stands on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter with a sign asking for money for photos with her on Oct. 10, 2016. 

A sign in Voodoo shop window in New Orleans.

John Boutté sings his popular song 'The Treme Song' at a bar on Frenchman Street in New Orleans. 

A man in a cowboy hat listens to musicians play at a zydeco jam session at the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette, La on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. 

A drummer plays in a window of a bar along Frenchman Street in New Orleans on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. 

A woman leans against a car during the Prince of Wales second line parade in New Orleans on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016.

I traveled to New Orleans with my fiance and fellow photographer Stephanie Strasburg for a little vacation in October. These are some of the images from our travels.