A teacher’s tasteless lesson plan is stirring up ire online after footage of her mocking Native American culture was shared on social media.
Footage of the teacher, identified as Candice Reed of John W. North High School in California by multiple reports, was filmed by a student in her math class. According to numerous shares of the video on social media, the student began filming after Reed pulled out “a fake feather headdress” and placed it on her head. According to the student, his footage begins after several minutes of “war hooping & tomahawk chopping” had already passed. He reportedly chose to film because he “felt that violence was being committed against him and he had the right to record.”
The footage, which was shared in four parts to Akalei Brown’s Instagram page for corn_maiden_designs, begins after the teacher’s cringeworthy antics are already well underway. The first clip sees her miming a chopping motion before beginning a thoroughly tone-deaf attempt at traditional Native American dance while repeatedly chanting SohCahToa.
SohCahToa is a mnemonic device used to help students remember sine, cosine, and tangent, the three basic trigonometry ratios needed to solve for missing angles in a right triangle. Why the teacher chose to butcher Native American culture in her attempt to teach this mathematical concept is unclear.
The second clip sees the teacher’s demeaning dance continue from atop a table at the back of her classroom. Continuing to shout “SohCahToa” in shrill, offensive tones, she stomps and jumps on the table to a few awkward laughs from her students. In general, her classroom appears immensely uncomfortable, with a few students visibly covering their heads and averting their gaze from her antics.
The latter half of the second clip sees this degrading behavior continue, as she appears to mimic a war chant before transitioning into an awkward skit involving stubbing her “toa” and screaming in pain. The following two clips are much shorter than the first two, and see Reed transition from her more dramatic mockery of indigenous Americans into mockery of Native American religion. In part three, she sits on the edge of her desk and raises her hands to the “water goddess,” whom she asks to tell her “the secret Indian chant.” Reed then bursts into laughter, calling the whole scene “ridiculous.”
The final clip sees the teacher transition from her conversation about the “water goddess” to one about “the rock god.” Wandering to the edge of the room, Reed announces that she “ran into the rock god,” before carrying a handful of rocks—painted by her children—to the front of the room.
The clips were collected by numerous Native American accounts and advocates and shared to social media. Between two shares alone, one to Twitter and one to Instagram, the videos have received millions of views and tens of thousands of likes and shares.
Reactions to the clips were almost universally negative. People shared their disgust and affront at the teacher’s tone-deaf attempt at a teaching moment and called on John W. North High School to fire her over her behavior. Commenters called Reed’s behavior “appalling” and “offensive” and wondered how she thought it was appropriate in 2021.
“I want to be shocked,” one viewer wrote. “But this is America.”
A number of people pointed out that Southern California is home to numerous Indigenous tribes, and blasted the woman for neglecting to look outside of her “cultural bubble.”
“She is surrounded by Native American tribes here in Southern California,” one person pointed out. “She should have definitely known better.”
Other commenters pointed out that their own education in SohCahToa simply used diagrams or non-offensive memory devices. “No Native American disparagement required.”
Several people poked fun at the numerous problematic politicians currently holding office in the U.S., with jokes like “tell us you’re considering quitting your job as a teacher to run for public office as a Republican without telling us that you’re considering quitting your job as a teacher to run for public office as a Republican.”
The video also led multiple people to discover the appallingly racist results that a Google search will yield when searching for “SohCahToa Indian.”
Countless viewers have vowed to contact the high school about the footage. The school has yet to publicly comment on the incident. The Daily Dot reached out to the school for comment.
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