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Wake educator’s advice about ‘culturally appropriate’ Thanksgiving raises eyebrows

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A Wake County educator’s advice on teaching about Thanksgiving and Native Americans in a “culturally appropriate” way is drawing praise — and some complaints — on social media.

Lauryn Mascareñaz, a director in the Wake County school system’s Office of Equity Affairs, tweeted Friday that teachers shouldn’t have their students engage in “cute” activities, such as having students make “Indian” feathers. She said teachers should instead tell students the “truth” about the nation’s relationship with Native Americans, including how Thanksgiving is viewed as a day of mourning by some groups.

Teachers! Repeat after me: I will not have my students make ‘Indian’ feathers/clothes,” tweeted Mascareñaz, a former elementary school teacher. “I will not culturally appropriate an entire people for ‘cute’ activities.

“I will tell my students the truth about this country’s relationship with Indigenous people. #PinterestIsNotPedagogy

Mascareñaz’ tweet has been retweeted more than 1,000 times and received more than 3,500 likes as of Monday.

But A.P. Dillon, a Wake County parent and local conservative blogger, tweeted Saturday that the school district should “‘appropriate’ academic instruction and drop the social justice warrior virtue signaling.”

“But hey, our betters over at Equity Affairs are virtue signaling on Twitter about that teacher who might be having kids dress up as Pilgrims and Indians,” Dillon wrote in a blog post Sunday. “Spare us your finger-wagging, virtue signaling crap, Ms. Mascareñaz.”

Mascareñaz did not respond to email, voice message or direct message on Monday requesting comment. But she tweeted out a quote Monday night from activist Audre Lorde, along with the hashtag #Equity4Wake, about it being better to speak out than to be silent.

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