When photographer Kiliii Yüyan first saw the sun setting over the red rock formations in Tse’Bii’Ndzisgaii, or Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which straddles both Utah and Arizona, he knew it was the perfect backdrop for a powerful portrait of international model Quannah Rose Chasinghorse, featured on the cover of this month’s issue of National Geographic.
Yüyan is an award-winning photographer of Nanai/Hèzhé ancestry who specializes in exploring human relationships to nature, especially in Indigenous communities. For the July cover story, he was tasked with capturing the essence of a complex term: Native sovereignty. And Chasinghorse, an Indigenous model and activist known for using her platform to support sovereignty and sustainability, was an ideal subject.
We spoke to Yüyan and Chasinghorse