In this screen grab of a YouTube video, 22-year-old Inuk Christina David can be seen leaning over to pluck a bird. Hysteria made the video go viral, complete with assertions that she also ate it raw.

Video: Inuit Woman Plucks Bird on Montreal Subway, Onlookers Cry Fowl


Christina David was so excited when she procured a ptarmigan—a delicacy from her homelands up north—that she couldn’t wait to start preparing it. Without thinking twice, the Inuit woman leaned over and started plucking it.

Trouble was, she was on a Montreal subway, and the culture clash was immediate. Fellow riders moved away, some gagging, from the looks of a video that a passenger shot—from the far end of the car.

Said video went viral on YouTube, given that its original headline, “Une femme déplume et mange un oiseau mort dans le métro de Montréal,” somehow got turned into “Woman Plucks, Eats Raw Bird on Montreal Subway” by the likes of the Toronto Sun. National and then worldwide media followed suit. Montreal transit police investigated.

“Police say a woman could face charges of disturbing the peace for plucking and eating a raw bird on the Metro, though they are not ruling out that she could have a mental illness,” noted CBC News in a caption on its initial story.

The incident happened on July 1, a day after National Aboriginal Awareness Month ended. David surfaced on social media a few days later, and the Nunatsiaq News in Nunavut picked it up.

It turned out that far from being off her rocker, David was merely acting in concert with her cultural norms. She grew up in Wakeham Bay and Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, in northern Quebec—12,000 people live there, about 90 percent of them Inuit, reported the news and culture site Vice, which interviewed the woman who “has become an unlikely spokesperson for Inuit culture and traditions.”

“I didn’t really care who was watching or where I was, actually,” David told Vice. “I saw my aunt that day, and my aunt gave me some of my country food—ptarmigan—and I was so excited I just wanted to prepare it before I got home. So I was preparing it inside a plastic bag. And I wasn’t eating it!”

The mass freakout that accompanied her act seems due to more than just the spectacle of someone doing something out-of-context on public transport. After all, as the NYC news site Gawker pointed out, plenty goes on in the underground, from nail-clipping to eating odiferous food, among other noxious activities. And presumably the Montreal metro car was not full of vegetarians.

But people did not hesitate to condemn David for her action. Indeed, she was facing the possibility of charges of disturbing the peace before the culture-clash element came to light.

“She was eating a raw bird inside the train, and there’s people that were disgusted by this incident,” said Montreal Police Constable Manuel Couture to CBC News.

"I didn't know that it was going to affect any other people like that because in my culture it's completely normal," David told CBC News.

“It's not like we get to eat our country food everyday,” David noted in her Facebook comment, according to CBC News's translation from the French. “I was so happy that I didn't care where I was at the moment, but all I have to say is that I ain't crazy.”

Does this activity look like the behavior of a crazy person? Judge for yourself, below.

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scd's picture
Submitted by scd on
OK! How many of these self righteous idiots eat chicken, pork or beef? They need to visit a slaughter house and take note to how their foods are processed. If they did, they would all be vegetarians! If you don’t understand something either ask a question to be informed or keep your mouth shut! Steve Fire Heart

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
She looks more hungry than crazy to me! Unless these people were all vegans there is no reason for their disdain. People have become too separated from their food. Don't they know that their McNuggets were once a live animal complete with feathers, and blood and guts?

French coyote's picture
French coyote
Submitted by French coyote on
LOL - As far as cultural faux pas go, that one was harmless - and highly entertaining in view of the expressions and reactions of other passengers! The reactions would have been even funnier, had the incident happened at the time of all the fuss and scare about avian 'flu, you know, the lethal sort transmitted to humans by birds, dead or alive. I grew up in Paris, France. It has the same sort of métro as Montréal. It would have been considered inappropriate to pluck a bird on the Paris métro but in my young days, hens were often bought with the feathers on and plucked at home, in the kitchen (not on the way back from market!). Roosters also, and that is how I got my first (and only) Indian war bonnet… That would also have been a cultural faux pas, had there been any Indians around to upset. Other kids and I often played "Cowboys and Indians", because most of the movies we saw were Hollywood horse operas. I also had a cowboy outfit, with a pink Western hat and a cap-firing revolver, but I preferred the rooster-feather outfit because even then, at the movies, I rooted for the Indians… Nowadays, except in the country for people raising their own hens, chicken is something that comes featherless in shrink-wrap trays or in Southern fried tubs. I suspect some townies don't even know those bits were ever part of a creature with feathers. The worst cultural faux pas I ever committed still causes me to cringe in close-to-tears shame. It was in 1966. I had just arrived from France to California for further studies in oceanography. I had not yet bought a car and was hitchhiking from near San Diego to LA. One of the drivers who gave me a ride spotted my foreign accent and asked me where I was from. I told him, and, as he spoke with an accent I had not heard before and was a swarthy sort of fellow, not my idea of an American (a crew-cut WASP), I asked him where he was from. He replied, "I am Indian", so I said, "Then you are further from your country than I am from mine", India being on the opposite side of the world from California. "I am Navajo", replied the driver… Don't you ever feel like kicking Christopher F* Columbus?