Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast

Lewis Cardinal – It’s All About Relationships

August 07, 2019 Marie Gervais Season 1 Episode 12
Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast
Lewis Cardinal – It’s All About Relationships
Show Notes

Bio for Lewis Cardinal 

Lewis Cardinal has dedicated his life’s work to creating and maintaining connections and developing relationships which cross cultural divides. 

Episode highlight

Lewis Cardinal, a Woodland Cree First Nation native, has based his career on answering the question, ‘How do we develop relationships?’ Listen to this podcast to unearth insights on building bridges between different worlds. 





“Good relationships are based on good communication.”

 “The great indoctrinator of any nation is its educational system.”

“When you move the heart, the mind follows.”


Childhood incidents:

Lewis was struck by his grandfather’s deep, authentic, and sincere commitment to the people. His grandmother, too, reinforced a strong sense of giving back to the community. 

Living through the turbulent Red Power Days, the Indigenous movement from 1968 to 1974 influenced him in the work he does till today. 

Groups you were born into and belonged to: 

Lewis’ has a strong and prestigious Metis lineage from his grandmother. The Metis culture taught him hard work, determination, tenacity and to never give up. 

The Woodland Cree side of his family includes Treaty signatories. This responsibility has taught him that all Canadians have obligations to each other. 

He finds threads of indigeneity woven into his political identity as a social democrat – looking after people, seeking social justice, and making sure everyone has enough. 

Temperament and personality influences

Lewis is a diplomat and peace-maker, and is kind and easy-going. Growing up, he learned that the world is filled with naysayers, but he meets their lack of faith with perseverance, consistency and clarity of vision, and heart-work.

A time I became aware that my way of doing things was cultural and specific to my cultural experience

In Grade 4, during a schoolyard game, his classmates were deciding who the toughest child was, and Lewis wanted to participate. However, they told him he didn’t count. 

Advice to an employer to work with me

Lewis advises employers to actively listen by paraphrasing and be present in conversations. He also asks that employers keep their assumptions in check. 

More great insights from our guest! 

Lewis recommends reaching out to someone from the indigenous community to guide you, answer your questions and teach you more about indigenous traditions and knowledge. 

He serves as the Senior Strategic Advisor to an organization his children have founded, Naheyawin, which connects companies, governments and NGOs to the indigenous community. Visit to learn more about their work. 

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