By Chevi Rabbit, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Lance Cardinal, (he/him) is a First Nation artist, designer, and philanthropist who is having a positive impact in Edmonton and beyond.
“I am a business owner, artist, and entrepreneur living in Edmonton,” he said. “I work with Northern communities and lots of local businesses to bring Indigenous culture, creativity, and ideas into the mainstream.”
He explained that as he brings Indigenous Culture to his design elements, he facilitates conversations, and presents Indigenous people in a positive way with his business, Soulflame Creative Services.
“In the last few years, I have been working hard to share who I am as a First Nation person, and the beauty of our people in a good way. I’ve worked with many great companies here in Edmonton such as Fort Edmonton Park as the Indigenous program advisor. I also worked with Ikea Edmonton to create some Indigenous showcase rooms and murals at Ikea,” said Cardinal.
He added that he worked with the Edmonton Oilers as an Indigenous consultant. “I recently designed the turtle island logo that is being featured there. I also have some amazing projects coming up soon.”
He explained that he identifies as two-spirit. “I grew up in a small town called Calling Lake Alberta, a very small town that is located up north, about 500 people live in that town.”
“I grew up poor. We need didn’t have much. No running water; I had to hand wash my clothes – things like that,” said Cardinal.
“I grew up with a lot of alcohol around and violence. As a young two-spirit boy, I really had a hard time finding my place there and finding a place to express who I was, and even be acknowledged for that energy.”
“In my community, there was so much darkness at the time. People were going through so many things that my troubles and challenges as a young two-spirit boy were not acknowledged or prioritized, this was in the late ’70s, and early ‘80s,” explained Cardinal.
“I think I used creativity to express myself when I was young, I would draw quietly, I would sketch and build things out of paper, I would watch shows like Mr. Dress up on the only channel we had. He would express himself creatively and I would copy him. And I would find ways to have happy moments to create little positive sparks in my day that would help me get through all the darkness around me.”
He said he turned all that a turbulent childhood into a creative business. “My Elders tell me: you were given art as a gift to heal our people. Don’t be afraid of who you are, don’t be scared that you are doing art, heal through your passion,” said Cardinal.
“Follow your passion and create your own path was a very important lesson. The path that the creator has already given to me, trust it, pray for it, this is what I want to do, I pray for it, I ask to be given projects, opportunities and so far, I have been really blessed.”
Cardinal’s message for youth is “Find out what your passion is, what makes you happy, find out what gives you good positive feelings and indulge in those things. If somebody like online video games, find out what you can do to make that a career, if you like hunting, that could be a lucrative career too.”
“Don’t be afraid to look at home too. We don’t always have to leave our communities to find out who we are or find our passion or find a good place in the world to make a difference,” concluded Cardinal.
“We are looking for youth to express gender in a good way, express ourselves, our culture in a fun and modern way, like through TikTok, Social Media, and we are looking to the youth to wear moccasins on one foot and Nike shoes on the other.”
For more information on Lance Cardinal visit: www.soulflamecreativeservices.com
FB: Soulflame Creative Services