La Comadre recently published a story about a video that went viral of a teacher in Riverside using inappropriate Native American stereotypes to teach math to her class, which included Native American students. Read more about that story here.
The incident caught the attention of millions, including local lawmakers. One of these lawmakers is Assemblymember James Ramos of the Serrano/Cahuilla tribe and immediate past Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, who is also known for being California’s first Native American lawmaker.
During class, the Riverside teacher used tomahawk chops and whooping calls that were caught on video and posted to TikTok.
After the video went viral, it was discovered that the behavior in question was not a one-time offense. The teacher Candace Reed has been doing this bit for several years without question.
After the issue went viral, three of the area’s legislative members from Riverside called for a special board meeting to address the issue and promote cultural sensitivity training. The special meeting discussed what is appropriate for the classroom and what’s considered cultural appropriation. The discussion was led by Assemblymember James Ramos from the San Bernardino county area. Assemblymember Ramos was joined by Riverside County Assemblymembers Sabrina Cervantes and Jose Medina (who you may know as the architect of the California Ethnic Studies legislation that was recently passed and adopted). Everyone came together to discuss ways to avoid this type of problematic behavior in the classroom and to promote the teaching of cultural sensitivity and inclusivity, specifically as it pertains to Native Americans and stereotypes about them.
I know it seems absurd. It’s 2021 and if a teacher still does not have the common sense to know what is and isn’t right in terms of what they do with students in the classroom, I don’t know what to think. As far as we know, the teacher in question is still on paid leave and we’ll continue to follow the story.
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