Favorite Moments of 2016 By Native Youth Photographer Christian Gomez

Striking and beautiful picture moments by 16-year-old Tlingit Tribal member, Christian Gomez, an amazing Native youth photographer.
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While 2016 has ended, our memories of all the laughs shared and friends embraced have stayed with us into the New Year. As a Native youth photographer, every New Year is something fresh and exciting for me. This is a time of renewal, as well as a time to start something new.

Here are some of my favorite moments from 2016, captured in pictures.

Connecting with Family

For youths, family is everything, which is why we remember time with relatives so fondly as we look back. Watching movies, fishing and camping with cousins are the types of memories that we keep with us.

Emilee Watts at a family gathering in Juneau, Alaska. Photo - Christian Gomez

Emilee Watts at a family gathering in Juneau, Alaska.

Jean Vavalis in Juneau, Alaska. Photo - Christian Gomez

My great-grandmother Jean Vavalis in Juneau, Alaska.

Experiencing the Culture

Native youth are resilient, and continue to stay connected to their culture, either by attending cultural events or becoming involved in youth councils. We continue to be grateful for our elders and those who have gone before us that have created a path to experience our culture.

Mark’s Trail dancers gather at Celebration 2016 in Juneau, AK over the summer. Photo - Christian Gomez

Mark’s Trail dancers gather at Celebration 2016 in Juneau, AK over the summer.

Culture performers at White House Tribal Nations Conference. Photo - Christian Gomez

Culture performers at White House Tribal Nations Conference.

Meeting New People

Admit it. There is at least one person who came into your life this year that you struggle to imagine how life was like without them. For youths, that person could have been a classmate, or maybe a new friend you made by going outside of your comfort zonef. Regardless, they’ve managed to have an impact on you in a short amount of time.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica while I was on a school trip during the summer. Photo - Christian Gomez

While I was on a school trip during the summer, Áine Dougherty on a beach in Tamarindo, Costa Rica as the sun sets over the water.

Rene Reyes following the train tracks on his way to school in Heredia, Costa Rica. Photo - Christian Gomez

Rene Reyes following the train tracks on his way to school in Heredia, Costa Rica.

Old Fashion Road Trip

There’s nothing like spending days in a car, listening to old radio shows like the Twilight Zone, losing your GPS signal and then the radio signal, catching breathtaking sunsets and sunrises ….it becomes not just about the destination but also the journey.

Ryan Allegro captures the moment at Eagle Beach Alaska on his first trip to Alaska. Photo Christian Gomez

Ryan Allegro captures the moment at Eagle Beach Alaska on his first trip to Alaska.

Ryan Allegro loving the scenery in Juneau, Alaska. Photo Christian Gomez

Ryan Allegro loving the scenery in Juneau, Alaska.

A sunset in Pennsylvania on a road trip during the summer. Photo - Christian Gomez

A sunset in Pennsylvania on a road trip during the summer.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy New Year!

Christian Gomez is a 16-year-old member of the Tlingit Tribe located in Juneau, Alaska. He currently lives in the Washington DC area. As the youngest member of ICMN’s photographic contributor staff, he has loved to take photos as a Native youth photographer since elementary school.