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)

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

Kelowna seen from the top of Knox Mountain. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
Homeownership unattainable for many Kelowna residents

Single-person and single-parent households often have limited options when it comes to housing

A Kelowna cannabis manufacturer has acquired another cannabis-based firm. (Black Press Media File)
Kelowna cannabis company acquires edibles manufacturer for $24.9 million

The Valens Company has acquired LYF Food Technologies

LaRae Richards loads an order for deliver via Uber Eats Wednesday afternoon at Red Onion Burgers in Mountlake Terrace on May 17, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Uber Eats comes to Kelowna

There are more than 60 businesses on the online delivery platform

(Pixabay)
‘Roadmap out of COVID-19’: Innovate BC’s program helping businesses recover

CEO Raghwa Gopal said the tech sector is here to help brick and mortar businesses

(Pixabay photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed the exposure at Central Programs and Services on Jan. 25

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

A large portion of Anglemont is without running water due to a water main break on Jan. 26. (CSRD Image)
A large part of Anglemont in the North Shuswap is without water due to a water line break on Jan. 26. (Black Press File Photo)
Broken water main leaves Shuswap community without running water

The water line has left Anglemont residents either without water or with low pressure.

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Five big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19:

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Penticton fire crews quickly put out a small blaze at a home on Duncan Ave. E Monday night. (Mike Biden photo)
South Okanagan house fire sends one to hospital

The fire at the Duncan Place home was cooking related

Vernon has agreed to a goose cull to control the over-populated invasive species making a muck of area parks and beaches. (Morning Star file photo)
Okanagan city pulls the trigger on goose cull

City asking neighbours to also help control over-population of geese

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read