A highschool instructor from Riverside, California has been positioned on depart after viral movies present her mocking Indigenous cultures throughout a math class this week. The instructor, carrying what seems to be a plastic headband with paper cutout feathers to appear like a headdress, is seen in movies leaping across the room screeching “SoCahToa,” a shortened phrase for educating trigonometry capabilities, and “tomahawk chopping.”
Indigenous girl and enterprise proprietor Akalei Brown posted the movies on Thursday, which she says she obtained from an Indigenous scholar who filmed the incident in his math class. The coed allegedly instructed Brown that he “felt that violence was being dedicated in opposition to him and he had the appropriate to file,” based on her Instagram publish.
The footage reveals the instructor dancing across the room, leaping on tables, screaming, and screeching “SohCahToa” whereas additionally doing what is meant to resemble a “tomahawk chop.” “SohCahToa” is a controversial shortened phrase generally used to show trigonometry capabilities sine, cosine and tangent.
Whereas the instructor was doing the dance, she had drawings pulled up on the category projector of stick figures with headdresses, rocks and teepees. The instructor then sat on prime of her desk on the entrance of the classroom and pretended to hope to a water goddess.
“Water goddess, once more I ask you, please inform me the key Indian chant,” she says within the video, earlier than laughing. “As a result of clearly that is ridiculous.”
She additionally made feedback a couple of “rock god,” saying he “spit out” a number of rocks that she used throughout her demonstration.
“The rock god did this,” she instructed her college students. “Thanks, rock god.”
In a press release revealed Thursday, the Riverside Unified College District stated the instructor is one in every of their very own and that her “behaviors are fully unacceptable and an offensive depiction of the huge and expansive Native American cultures and practices.”
The instructor, who remained unnamed, has been positioned on depart whereas the varsity district investigates the incident, the district stated. At a board assembly that day, the district’s superintendent Renee Hill stated the instructor’s “phrases and actions, carried out throughout class time, had been extremely insulting and marginalizing to Native American and Indigenous cultures, amongst others.”
“This has our full consideration and it will likely be addressed expeditiously,” Hill stated.
Brown posted a video of the board assembly, throughout which a younger Indigenous woman confronted board members in regards to the video. Brown, an Indigenous girl who serves as a Native historical past and tradition guide, has stated she is the official spokesperson for the household, as they don’t need to be recognized for security causes.
“Once I noticed that video of her, I simply thought that I simply was going to blow up,” the younger woman says. “…She’s racist and that simply makes me so mad. Me and my folks, we do not have our rights nonetheless. … I all the time really feel so unhappy. I do not like how persons are treating us. They deal with us dangerous, they bully us.”
John Wesley North Excessive College posted a photograph of the district’s unique assertion, saying the instructor in query is one in every of their very own.
“Her actions had been marginalizing, particularly to Native People,” the varsity wrote on Instagram. “This conduct will not be condoned or tolerated… It goes in opposition to our core values and beliefs and values of fairness and well-being.”
The incident sparked large backlash on-line. Standard Indigenous TikToker Lance Tsosie, who is thought for his or her “hey colonizer” movies, posted the footage, saying the video is “racist, ignorant and disgusting.”
“This conduct will not be illustration in your college,” Tsosie stated, encouraging followers to contact the varsity and maintain the instructor accountable, but in addition implement range and fairness trainings for academics.
Li Cohen is a social media producer and trending reporter for CBS Information, specializing in social justice points.