September 30, 2021 is Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about a dark chapter in the country’s history involving the now infamous Residential Schools, and to commemorate the victims and honor the survivors, their families and their communities, as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and Indigenous Peoples (First Nations) leaders. The Canadian Pacific is participating by putting into service its ES44AC 8757 “Every Child Matters”, painted in a bright orange livery with unique graphics.
“The locomotive will educate all of us who see it continuing on the path of learning about Indigenous peoples and their rich history and culture,” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel. “It was truly an honor to participate. Attention and honor belong to First Nations and First Nations children. We are blessed to have been able to play a small role in the making of this tribute. “
The story of CP 8757 began with 13-year-old Jacob Hoffer, a young native who, in the summer of 2021, wrote to CP asking the railroad to consider painting one of CP’s locomotives orange. . CP responded positively and sought advice from the Orange Shirt Society, a non-profit organization that supports residential school reconciliation and raises awareness of the individual, family and community intergenerational impacts of residential schools, to develop the special livery. The OSS was founded by Phyllis Webstad, who told her story about her orange shirt that was taken off her on her first day at boarding school.
The result is that 8757 now proudly displays the Orange Shirt Society logo on the side of its nose; the locomotive will be put into service on the CP network on September 30. On September 27, Jacob and his mother, Darcy, traveled to CP headquarters in Calgary to participate in the unveiling of the locomotive he helped make a reality.
The CP said it was “proud to support the efforts of the Orange Shirt Society to create a meaningful discussion about the effects of residential schools and the legacy they left. This locomotive will serve as a constant reminder of the work to come, but will also draw on the inspiration that connected Jacob, CP and the Orange Shirt Society, as “Every Child Matters”. This, along with CP’s commitment to display the Orange Shirt Society logo on its corporate vehicles, including the locomotive, will go a long way in generating interest and awareness across Canada.
“The orange locomotive is a symbol of CP’s commitment and willingness to participate in the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal Canadians,” said Orange Shirt Society President Jérôme Beauchamp. “This is exciting and gives CP, as a company, the opportunity to learn more and continue to deliver on its commitment to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians.” We at the Orange Shirt Society are thrilled to partner with CP and would love to help CP along its journey. The path to reconciliation includes three stages: education on the impact of residential schools, familiarization with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, and implementation of those calls to action. in your company.
Orange Shirt Society CEO Laio Hyrcha and Secretary Blair Cunningham were in Calgary to see the “Every Child Matters” locomotive with Jacob and Darcy Hoffer. CP Senior Vice-President, Engineering, Mechanical and Supply, Scott MacDonald, welcomed them.
Editor’s Note: A Canadian colleague writes: “Truth and Reconciliation Day is our latest attempt to address the brutal history of Canada’s First Nations at the hands of the government and other groups like the Catholic Church. While there are many areas in history that could be debated, the saddest and most terrible is the legacy of residential schools. These government-sponsored and largely church-run schools were explicitly designed to “take the native out of the Indian.” This manifested itself when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families and forced their parents to live on reserves. Many brutal abuses – physical, sexual and emotional – were inflicted on these innocent children by nuns and priests; the worst part is that thousands of people have died under the “care” of these schools. Their deaths were treated very lightly and the dead children were buried in anonymous graves behind the school property. A notification would be sent to the reserves to inform the parents of the death of their child. On occasion, the school required parents to leave the reserve with a permit to retrieve their child’s body. It is our national shame. Canadian Pacific has a long history of outreach to Indigenous groups. During my time at CP, I had many meetings and interactions with First Nations band councils and with staff who were First Nations. Under the leadership of CEOs Rob Ritchie and, later, Fred Green, CP made a deliberate effort to advertise all vacancies in reservations. This allowed hundreds of First Nations people to get their first jobs at CP. It is with great pride that CP, under the leadership of Keith Creel, once again becomes a leader in reconciling Canada’s terrible history with its First Nations. – William C. Vantuono