Young Native Americans celebrating their culture

Story highlights

  • The portrait series "Red Road" takes a closer look at modern-day Native Americans
  • The subjects are embracing their culture and maintaining traditions
  • "Red Road" comes from the Lakota concept of "the good path" to be followed in life

(CNN)Native Americans often speak of straddling two worlds: the America where pop culture and political gridlock dominate headlines, and a world where the culture of their ancestors lives on through ritual celebrations, language and artisan traditions.

It's a tough balance to strike, especially as Native youth leave tribal lands in search of education and career opportunities. Across the nation, members of the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes are working to keep their traditions alive to pass on to the next generation and to show mainstream America that Native culture is a living, breathing entity.
    Some faces of these efforts are captured in "Red Road," an ongoing photo series by Italian photographer Carlotta Cardana and writer Danielle SeeWalker, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
      The name "Red Road" comes from the Lakota concept of "the good path" that should be followed in life, the project's website says: "The people we've met and photographed all follow this 'Red Road' in some way, rising above to be role models to their people and their way of life."