California Teacher Seen Mocking Native Americans During Bizarre Lesson
A student who identifies as Native American recorded the video and said he "felt that violence was being committed against him."
October 21, 2021 at 6:04 pm
A California teacher is being criticized on social media after a video posted on Wednesday shows her attempting to reenact Native American dances, Newsweek reports.
The woman is seen in the video wearing a headdress with fake feathers during a lesson at John W. North High School in Riverside. The math teacher was filmed by a student who identifies as Native American and said he "felt that violence was being committed against him."
Activist and businesswoman Akalei Brown, who also identifies as Native American, posted the video with permission from the student's family. In her post on Instagram, Brown said the student decided to record the teacher after several minutes passed of her "war hopping and tomahawk chopping."
In one of the multiple clips shared on Instagram, the teacher is seen hopping on what appears to be empty desks as her students watched on in disbelief. She also sat on her desk with her hands in the air and later clasped together before the students.
The tomahawk chop, which has been seen at sporting events, has been widely criticized for being insensitive and devaluing of Native Americans, according to CNN.
Brown continues in her Instagram post, saying that the student "noticed the teacher was pulling out a fake feather headdress and when she put it on he thought, 'what is she going to do?'"
Speaking on behalf of the family, Brown also asserted that, "We need to end abuse & discrimination against indigenous youth in schools! There is no excuse for this type of behavior. We're not in the 1960s anymore, she should know better."
The video was also shared on Twitter, where it continued to be criticized by people who saw the insensitivity of the math teacher's actions.
The Riverside Unified School District released a statement, condemning her actions, CBS 8 reports.
"A recording of one of our teachers has been widely circulated on social media. These behaviors are completely unacceptable and an offensive depiction of the vast and expansive Native American cultures and practices. Her actions do not represent the values of our district. The teacher has been placed on leave while the District conducts an investigation," the statement read.
"The Riverside Unified School District values diversity, equity and inclusion, and does not condone behavior against these values," the statement continues.