Ramos: Riverside school board session over classroom incident begins ‘long-term process’ to ‘confront ignorance about Native American culture and history’

For immediate release:

Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) today issued the following statement following a special board meeting of the Riverside Unified School District aimed at eliminating cultural bias and insensitivity towards Native Americans. The hearing was called after a classroom incident involving a teacher mimicking a Native American dance while wearing a faux Native American headdress to teach math concepts.

"I wish to thank the Riverside Unified School District Board of Education and its administration for committing during today’s board meeting to address insensitivities demonstrated by the recent school episode and provide ongoing progress reports at their board meetings.

The incident that brought us together underscores why educators must form engaged partnerships with California tribes to correct ignorance and bias in our local, state, and national educational systems and teacher training programs. One critical element in confronting these troubling concerns is reviewing California’s curriculum standards. This is why I introduced AB 1554 and ACA 6 and recently co-chaired a joint hearing about Native American education. These measures call for the teaching of Native American history and culture to increase knowledge about the state’s tribes and their impacts on California.

Confronting ignorance about Native American culture and history that leads to bias and prejudice is a long-term process that will demand scrutiny over what we teach and fostering respect in our schools and other institutions."

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 Assemblymember James Ramos proudly represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature.