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

VIDEO: Virtual Abbotsford International Airshow debuts online

2020 edition of the event moves to a virtual format in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic

Abbotsford golfers shoot aces on same hole in same group

Local golfers Blake Olson and Randy Morford shoot hole-in-ones at Ledgeview on same hole

Fraser Valley Bandits fall to Edmonton in CEBL final

Bandits lose 90-73 to Stingers in Sunday’s Summer Series final

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Most Read