Young Native Americans celebrating their culture

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."

"Red Road" consists of portraits taken in a setting of the subject's choosing and a short biography, showing how each person bridges the gap between modern America and Indian Country.

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