Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears in this photo, released by Time Magazine, in dark makeup on his face, neck and hands at a 2001 “Arabian Nights”-themed party at Vancouver’s West Point Grey Academy, where he was a teacher. (Time)

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

Recently released photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in brownface and blackface are causing an uproar across the country and, B.C.’s Skeena-Bulkley Valley is no exception.

Wet’suwet’en Chief Na’Moks, who also goes by the name John Ridsdale, was unequivocal that it sows fear within Indigenous communities.

“When you have an elected official who actually has photos of that subject matter made public, it affects everybody,” he said.

“It’s such a terrible thing where this country has two parties, either Liberal or Conservative, and you always have to take the best of the worst, I guess.

“That’s what we did when he got in last time, and now between him and that Scheer madness, I thought one was more racist than the other, but now it appears they seem to be neck and neck.”

READ MORE: Party leaders react to Trudeau’s brownface photo bombshell

The first photo, published on Wednesday by Time Magazine, shows Trudeau in 2001 in dark makeup, wearing a turban during an “Arabian Nights”-themed party at the Vancouver private school where he was a teacher.

Trudeau apologized that evening and acknowledged a second photo of him in brownface. On Thursday morning, a third racist photo of him, this time in blackface, emerged.

READ MORE: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacts to Trudeau’s brownface photo

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Conservative candidate Claire Rattée said that’s not good enough.

“It’s shocking and pretty disgusting to see something like that coming from our prime minister,” she said. “It was wrong then, it’s wrong now, and I don’t think he’s given a reasonable apology on that at all. I don’t think that he actually understands the gravity of what he’s done.”

Dave Birdi, the Liberal candidate and himself a person of South Asian descent, downplayed the issue.

“My main focus is on jobs,” he said. “With this, I do have trust with Trudeau.

“Those photos of Justin Trudeau don’t matter. What matters are jobs. And wherever I go in the Skeena-Bulkley Valley that’s what I hear.”

Chief Na’Moks said he worries what it means for Indigenous people going forward.

“Canada is supposed to be a pretty caring and sharing country and when you get down to dirty politics, these things come out, but just the fact that he has these, is really disturbing,” he said.

“It’s pretty unfair when you have a two-party country. You have options in third and fourth place, but they seem to go down in the polls. This year, I think, the political race is going to get dirtier and dirtier by the day.”



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

3 new COVID-19 cases on peninsula

One resident and two workers employed by a seafood processor in the borough tested positive.

Ken Monkhouse, ‘Monkey’ on Highway Thru Hell TV show, passes away

Monkhouse passed away Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Council talks trash: New garbage bylaw in the works

Draft bylaw to be voted on at Monday, May 25 council meeting

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

Most Read