When Justin Trudeau was elected as Prime Minister of Canada, many people saw it as a positive change. A young, charismatic, very attractive man taking the helm of Canada would be just the change the country needed. He was athletic, good-looking, and, at the time, his principles seemed pure.
Trudeau also had a tattoo that some felt was a little inappropriate. He has a tattoo depicting a Haida raven, which is a staple of the indigenous Haida people, of the Pacific Northwest region of British Columbia. Many felt that it was a bit culturally appropriative since Trudeau had no association with the Haida people.
But when Trudeau took office, he pledged to begin a new relationship with the indigenous people of the country, to much acclaim. Haida leaders were excited with this new relationship and that they had a Prime Minister who wanted to represent their culture.
"Of course we’re proud," Peter Lantin, president of the Council of the Haida Nation said at the time. Haida leaders applauded the tattoo, which seemed to validate Trudeau's seemingly controversial ink. He was elected to much fanfare, and then it all fell apart.
You see, Trudeau has been recently pushing to instate an LNG Terminal in the Haida people's territory, which has left many of the residents outraged. The controversy is over the placement of the LNG, a gas tank. Trudeau is pushing to have it installed near salmon breeding grounds, and the Haida are heavily opposed to the installation.
Since Trudeau has a tattoo that seemingly shows his support and connection with the people, many feel like he is now stabbing them in the back with these heavy machinery installations. It's not just the LNG, either. Trudeau has allowed B.C.’s Site C Dam to go ahead before the Federal Court of Appeal, and he may approve the construction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which could destroy natural habitats and wildlife.
The Haida are particularly miffed about Trudeau's lack of adhering to the standards of their people. In Haida culture, getting a tattoo is a sacred event that takes place in public during a potlatch. Many feel he is appropriating their culture, a culture and a people that have suffered massive cultural genocides and were outlawed from using their native languages and celebrations.
The people of the Haida culture are now left disappointed with Trudeau's actions, and his tattoo. They feel he's not living up to the standards that their people have, and it doesn't seem like they can do anything about it.