Sgwaayaans TJ Young

Sgwaayaans TJ Young

Uses name in lieu of pronouns.

[ID: TJ Young, a person with braided hair looks into the camera. Young is posed in front of a body of water and a small boathouse just out of focus in the background.]

Portrait photo Molly Sharp.

Haida Artist
Hydaburg, AK
2024 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Rasmuson Foundation.

TJ Young was born into the Yaadaas Eagle Clan of the Kaigani Haida in 1981 and was given the Haida name Sgwaayaans. Young was raised in Hydaburg, Alaska, and cites his grandfather, Claude Morrison, as a major influence in his life. Morrison introduced Young to Haida art and practices when he was a teenager, instructing him on how to hand–carve halibut hooks. Young creates many carvings and items for ceremonies and cultural purposes and considers it an honor to carry on the traditions of his ancestors.

Young continues to develop his skills. In 2010, he graduated from the Native Education College Jewelry Program and learned the basics of engraving from Dan Wallace and James McGuire. He had the privilege of working under world–renowned Haida artist Robert Davidson from 2012–2015.
  • Artwork by Sgwaayaans TJ Young
    Sketch for 360 Cultural Values Totem Pole. Photo by Ryan Cortes.
  • Artwork by Sgwaayaans TJ Young
    360 Cultural Values Totem Pole, raised in 2022. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by Molly Sharp.
    [ID: A tall totem pole in an urban setting on a foggy day. The long wooden pole is ornately carved with a cast of stylized characters. Each character overlaps one another and is painted in a color palette of red and black.]
  • Artwork by Sgwaayaans TJ Young
    Haida Raven Clan totem pole, raised in 2023. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by Liann Walgenbach.
    [ID: A tall totem pole in front of a mountain landscape. The structure is a long wooden pole ornately carved with three stylized animals one sitting on top of the other and painted in a limited color palette of red, black, green, white, and gray-blue.]
Artwork by Sgwaayaans TJ Young Artwork by Sgwaayaans TJ Young Artwork by Sgwaayaans TJ Young