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OCT 28, 2022

Indigenous Mural Unveiled at CN’s Winnipeg Campus to Commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2022 marked the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. An opportunity to learn more about Indigenous culture, build awareness of the tragic and painful history of residential schools, and pay tribute to the children who never came home.

CN’s Indigenous Employee Resource Group (ERG) held a special event on September 29 at its campus in Winnipeg, Manitoba to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The event included the unveiling of an Indigenous mural and featured the voices of Frontier School Division’s children’s choir who performed O Canada in Ojibwe and the Bear song in Cree wearing their orange shirts.

The mural, painted by Indigenous artist Annie Beach, is a vibrant visual reminder of CN’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and weaves in the theme of reconciliation. During the event, Annie shared her story of the mural image which “captures Indigenous culture within the contemporary world to symbolize the path to reconciliation through harmonious co-existence.” “

The mural’s theme of ‘harmonious co-existence’ underscores the importance of respect and working together,” says Leslie-Anne Lewis, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at CN. “I'm hoping the mural will not only illustrate and recognize our underrepresented communities at CN, but also convey how to build a better CN for the future.”

David Radford, Senior Director of Campus Learning and Development, thought having the mural at the campus was a great idea since most new employees begin their careers at CN there. “The artist talks about the prairie landscape and sunshine, which signifies a new day and beginning; this matches what we’re doing while on-boarding new employees at the CN Campus.”

From left to right : Leslie-Anne Lewis, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Vanessa James, HR Business Partner, Gillian Gordon, Workers Compensation Officer

HR Business Partner Vanessa James is co-chair of the Indigenous ERG and the daughter of a residential school survivor. “I'm proud of CN for allowing the Indigenous ERG to come up with different strategies and activities that will work towards reconciliation in small, constant ways. The mural is a symbol to all new employees of diversity and inclusion, providing a sense of belonging for all. We hope it ignites questions about its meaning and about Indigenous culture.”

In addition to the mural event, CN employees across Canada raised funds for the Akiing Onji Foundation and wore orange shirts as a visible show of support towards reconciliation.