EDMONTON -- Edmonton-based Sureway Construction is apologizing for - but denying any involvement in - a racist sticker that includes its name and founding date.

The sticker depicts a train labelled “Sureway Construction” chasing a man wearing a First Nations headdress.

A photo of the sticker was posted to Twitter Sunday night by Indigenous actress, model and Mrs. Universe winner Ashley Callingbull.

“My dad found this on a pole in Edmonton. It was directly across from my reserve, the Enoch Cree Nation here in Alberta. This is absolutely terrible,” Callingbull wrote.

Sureway issued a response Monday denying any involvement with the sticker, the author of their statement called it both “racist” and “defamatory.”

“We have no affiliation with this sticker. We don’t condone it, we don’t support it and we certainly don’t want to represent any of the things it might be indicating,” Sean Mudge, a lawyer for the company, told CTV News Edmonton.

Mudge believes the sticker first surfaced in Saskatchewan in March, and said a version of it was also found in Calgary. 

He pointed out that there are other companies that use the “Sureway” name in western Canada, but acknowledged 1973 matches their date of incorporation.

Mudge apologized to Callingbull and her father.

“I’m sorry that our name was attached to anything that may have caused you pain. That’s not how we want to be thought of,” Mudge said.

“Racism is Alive and Well in Canada”

Callingbull told CTV News Edmonton that a representative of Sureway reached out to her Monday to apologize.

She still wasn’t sure who made the sticker, but called it “sickening.”

“I couldn’t believe that someone actually made something like that. My whole family was in shock,” Callingbull said of the sticker..

“It just goes to show that racism is alive and well in Canada,” Callingbull said, adding that the image hit her extra hard after watching protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African-American man that was killed while in police custody in Minnesota.

“Everything that’s going on in the states is basically what Indigenous people have gone through as well. Like the racism that we deal with everyday, and the people in the states have just got tired of it,” Callingbull said.

Mudge defended Sureway’s forty year record of working with Indigenous people. 

He asked that anyone who sees the sticker take it down, and invited whoever made and/or shared the sticker to contact the company.

“There’s gotta be a better way then to make allegations that – to us – don’t make any sense. If anyone could help us, or point us in the direction, or even if the individual or group could point us in the direction please do. Let’s figure this out,” Mudge said.

Any tips about the origins of the stickers in this story can be sent to sean.amato@bellmedia.ca.