Living my dream!
Story and Photo from Shara Diamond


My name is Shara Diamond, I am Unangax and Tlingit. My Grandma Alma Foster was from Unga Island and my Grandfather Paul Rudolph Senior was from Southeast, Alaska. My Mom is Sharon P. Kay, Unangax Culture bearer and Master Basket Weaver of the Attu style. I am grateful to my Mom for teaching me the ways of our people and our history.

I have always been an artist but my journey like most, was not easy. I knew I wanted to be a tattoo artist at 12 years old. My Uncle Steve asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was I wanted to make art, but also maybe be a teacher so I could help people. He suggested I be a tattoo artist so people could “wear my art.” That concept inspired and stuck with me well into adulthood.

The pursuit of education has always been a light in my life during hard times. My Mom always said, “knowledge is power” so I figured the more I knew the better my future would be. The CIRI Foundation has been one of my biggest supporters along my academic path.

In the month of October 2022, I opened my private Tattoo & Art Studio. I have been a professional tattoo artist since 2017, but it has been my lifelong dream to have my own art studio. Most of my tattoo clients are women, so I also wanted a space that was more peaceful and private as opposed to the often very busy and fast paced energies of a well established shop. Many of the tattoos I do require research, intention and time. I am beyond grateful to be able to provide such a healing space for my clients.

Prior to my career as a tattoo artist, I graduated with honors from Alaska Career College’s Therapeutic Massage Specialist Program. While working for Southcentral Foundation’s Elder Program and then the Traditional Healing Clinic, I knew I wanted to pursue a path where I could help people to heal. I put my Bachelors of Fine Art on hold and became a massage therapist.

Life lead me to Juneau where I befriended the local tattoo shop High Tide and then unexpectedly became its apprentice. The shop was located downtown, right across the street from the restaurant my grandma worked when she met my grandfather. Juneau will always be a special place for me. When I first stepped off the plane, I had the feeling that I was home. I am forever grateful to Dave Huk Yuunsk Lang’s mentorship and belief in my ambitions.

As of last week, I am a graduate of Anchorage Community Land Trust’s Indigenous Set Up Shop. Although I opened my business before the program ended, I gained a paramount of information to help me become a more confident entrepreneur. I know now that my success is inevitable.

My plans for the future, once I am more settled in my new space, is to start hosting virtual gatherings and podcasts focused on inspiring my Indigenous brothers and sister to learn how to heal. Like Traditional Healer Rita Pitka Blumenstein said, “heal yourself and heal the world”. I also have research projects in mind, but I am working on being intentional in one project at a time.

My most favorite part of tattooing is connecting my diverse community of clients with their ancestors. The research involved awakens knowledge that may have been asleep for some time. It also connects family members and brings them closer. Anytime I get to do an Indigenous based design, my heart glows bright.

Anyone who is interested in working with me is welcome to set up a consultation through the link on my website or Instagram.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and a BIG thank you to The CIRI Foundation for ALL of their support throughout my life!

Qaĝaasakung! and Gunalchéesh!

Instagram: @warriorgoddesstattoo

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