Owen Luck is an American photographer known for his photography of Native American and First Nation Canadian life and history. In 1973 he documented the AIM (American Indian Movement) liberation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. His account of that experience, “A Witness at Wounded Knee 1973” was published in The Princeton University Library Chronicle in 2006. In 1974 he was afforded the opportunity to photograph the first Ghost Dance in more the 85 years on the Rosebud Reservation. In 1975 he was invited by the Menominee Warrior Society to document their occupation of the abandoned Alexian Brothers Novitiate on their Wisconsin reservation.
From 2000 thru 2003 Mr. Luck returned to Wounded Knee to document Lakota life in the first years of the new century. In 2003, in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the 71-day siege at Wounded Knee, he raised funds to teach a summer semester photography workshop at the Oglala Lakota College. From 2004 thru 2006 he photographed among the Makah People of Neah Bay, Washington. During that time he was twice invited to participate in and joined the Makah’s Tribal Canoe Journey. As a participant observer he was able to document the community’s program to preserve its maritime cultural heritage.
Since 2006, Luck has focused his photography on the Haida culture of the Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). Having been adopted by and named into the Yaghu Laanaas Raven Clan, he is creating a visual record that explores continuities between the art visible at ancient sites and the practices of contemporary Haida carvers. During his fellowship at Beinecke, he will explore the library’s textual and visual records about Native American communities of the Pacific Northwest to provide a deeper, richer perspective for his ongoing book project, “Copying Faces • Evidence of Hands on Wood.”