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Kunitz Shoes, Indigenous artist Lance Cardinal team up to celebrate First Nations culture

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Kunitz Shoes, artist Lance Cardinal team up to celebrate First Nations culture
Art and fashion are colliding, for a one-of-a-kind collaboration in Edmonton. A partnership between local shoe company Kunitz Shoes and Indigenous artist Lance Cardinal is celebrating First Nations culture. Ciara Yaschuk has the story. – Jan 25, 2023

It’s a collaboration that’s been a year in the making, all about combining shoes, art and Indigenous culture.

Kunitz Shoes reached out to local Indigenous artist, Lance Cardinal exactly a year ago — Jan. 25 — about this collaboration and here it is, launching for the first time.

“Part of reconciliation, that we always talk about is speaking to all things Indigenous, not just the beautiful ideals of our people but also the hardship we are going through,” said Cardinal.

The shoe line has a variety of styles, including sandals, boots, flats and sneakers. There are 12 different styles in total, which come in a range of beautiful colours.

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The co-owner of Kunitz Shoes, Morgan Kunitz told Global News this is most well-received collaboration the company has done yet.

“But also something that people are going to love wearing and we have been able to have a message through the collection as well,” she said.

That message is displayed on the shoe. The flat has seven different animal heads on it representing the seven grandfather teachings and is embroidered right into the leather.

“(It provides) different ways to bring Cree language and Métis language into the collection, which we did amazingly,” said Cardinal with excitement.

“And not to mention the ideas of First Nations people talking about what we believe.”

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Another meaningful piece is the red boot.

“The red boot is sort of…  (it kind of pays homage to) the red dress movement, honouring the murder and missing Indigenous women, talking about missing family members who are lost and are never coming home,” said Cardinal.

One hundred percent of sales from the red boot are going towards the Creating Hope Society, which helps Indigenous families who have experienced trauma.

Creating Hope Society street program co-ordinator, Felicia Ricard said the donations are going to be very helpful.

“It’s to provide the services and support for families; To be able to do more and bring people in like psychologists or whatever that looks like, maybe elders to help the families. It’s huge for them.” said Ricard

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It’s one great collaboration that Cardinal is extremely proud of. And a hint: this won’t be the last line either.

“It’s great to once again be celebrated in a good way and to wear shoes on our feet that say, ‘Hey, look, we are Indigenous people, we are proud of who we are and we are here to be loud about who we are.’ That’s what the collection is all about.”

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