Outrage As Teacher Mocks Native American Dance Wearing Feather Headdress: 'Disrespectful'

A video of a math teacher wearing what appears to be an attempt at Native American headdress and simulating Indigenous dances during a lesson has gone viral online.

The clip was filmed covertly by a Native American student at John W. North High School in Riverside, California, because he "felt that violence was being committed against him."

The footage shows the white teacher, with feathers on her head, war hooping and tomahawk chopping in front of her class, who are looking on in awkward silence.

Native American activist and businesswoman Akalei Brown, who told Newsweek she shared the video on behalf of the male student's family, posted it to Instagram on October 20.

The caption explains: "Yesterday a Native American student filmed this video in his Math class!

"After several minutes of the teacher 'war hooping & tomahawk chopping' the student began filming because he, 'felt that violence was being committed against him and he had the right to record.'

"At first 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?'"

Brown then adds that the student who filmed the video "has a Native first name and outwardly identifies as Native American.

"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."

Speaking to Newsweek, Brown, who is of Kanaka-Maoli and Taos Pueblo descent, explained that she posted the video with the boy's permission so the world "could have a small glimpse into the type of abuses Native children face in U.S. schools everyday. This is not a one off scenario...

"We're standing up for our children and setting new a standard for the treatment of Native people."

The video was also shared on Twitter by an account called UrbanInuk, among many others, and has been viewed more than 2 million times.

It was here that CommunistsEgirl commented that the reason behind the teacher's actions was supposedly to teach the class SohCahToa as a mnemonic device.

Another Twitter user, Mom2boy_pup_cat, explained further: "Okay, so as a teacher I was thinking, this is probably some kind of lesson she is trying to make engaging (culturally deaf for sure), then I remembered (SohCahToa).

"She is trying to teach them a weird acronym for sine, cosine, tangent in trig, again, culturally deaf for sure."

Despite the alleged educational purpose of the bizarre lesson, many people have taken to social media to share their outrage.

An account by the name of Dangerouslytal typed: "The worst thing is the teacher probably didn't even think this was disrespectful or offensive. Completely oblivious as the kids watch, aghast and alarmed. Oblivious, as she grew up in a cultural bubble."

Abbachacha added: "I can't even...this is shameful. I'm so proud of this young person for having the courage to record this. I can barely watch it. But watch, we must. Change is coming. There is no other way out, but through."

Kim Mackey, known online as Kemackey, exclaimed: "I'm just...appalled. Those poor kids. We need to teach settler children how to stand up in these moments too and call out this colonist racism for what it is.

"I hope I would have had the guts as a kid to walk out, but I expect I would have been frozen and mortified."

However, others were more sympathetic to the teacher, including James21700046, who opined: "I have to assume, given the situation, that there is not malice here.

"Please do not try and mob justice this woman...her superiors finding out about this will cause enough problems. If it were out of malice, I wouldn't be saying this, but it appears to be amazing levels of stupid."

Newsweek has contacted John W. North High School for comment.

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A math teacher was filmed wearing a feather headdress and appearing to mock Native American culture during a class. Instagram/Akalei Brown