These photos reveal what it really means to be Native American
There are two portrayals of the Native American experience in the media, says photographer Carlotta Cardana. “[The media covers] a lot of issues like violence, addiction and poverty. And then the other side is the hippie version of the exotic Native American connected to nature who can talk to trees and the wind,” she said.
So Cardana and writer Danielle SeeWalker set out to change that. The pair traversed the United States, seeking out positive stories and role models in the community to capture the missing piece of the narrative. The result is called “The Red Road Project.”
Before each shoot, Cardana asks the subject to choose the location and the clothes they will be wearing to create portraits that are as authentic as possible. Sage Honga of the Hualapai chose to be photographed wading the shallows of the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon, a stunning place of great meaning and history for her tribe. But Cardana equally treasures the photographs that she has made in more humble settings. “It might be nothing amazing to look at, but that’s the most amazing thing when somebody just invites me into their house and into their private space,” she said.