A teacher went viral – and was subsequently put on leave from work – for wearing a Native American-inspired headdress and singing / dancing in her classroom.
A Native American student filmed his math teacher’s excerpts of âWar Strapping and Tomahawk Hashingâ during a lesson intended to teach the mnemonic âSOHCAHTOAâ to remember the functions of the sine, cosine, and tangent. The student considered that “violence was committed against him and he had the right to record”.
âTomahawks, right? The teacher can be heard saying in the first clip. In another clip, the teacher apparently drew an image of a Native American wearing a feathered headdress on her projector. At one point in the footage, she shows her paper feather headdress and adds, “I get all my feathers.”
Another video shows her sitting cross-legged on her desk as she asks the “water goddess” for a “secret enchantment” before laughing out loud.
The incident took place at John W. North High School in Riverside, California. The identity of the teacher has so far not been disclosed.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the educator was put on leave as a result of the offensive act of cultural appropriation and stereotyping. The superintendent also announced that they have officially launched an investigation into the incident.
“These behaviors are totally unacceptable and constitute an offensive representation of the vast and vast Native American cultures and practices,” the local school district said in a statement.
Dee Dee Manzanares Ybarra, director of the Southern California branch of the American Indian Movement and tribal president of the RumÅ¡en Am: a Tur: ataj Ohlone, told the outlet, âWe are tired of being laughed at. We are not kidding. We are not a costume.