New Mexico teacher fired for cutting Native American student’s braid, calling another student a ‘bloody Indian’

A teacher at a New Mexico high school was fired after she allegedly called a Native American student a “bloody Indian” and cut a braid off another student.

The acts were part of a quiz conducted by Cibola High School teacher Mary Eastin, in which she said she would reward correct answers with marshmallows but give out organic dog food for incorrect replies, according to The Washington Post.


A Native American student who had fake blood on her cheek as part of her Halloween costume told the the school board that Eastin approached her and asked her, “What are you supposed to be? A bloody Indian?” the Post reported.

Eastin, who was dressed as the “Voodoo Queen of New Orleans,” had earlier approached another Native American student who had braided her hair and asked if she liked the braids, the Post also reported, citing an account provided by several students to the American Civil Liberty Union's (ACLU) New Mexico chapter.

Eastin then proceeded to cut around 3 inches of the student's hair, according to the accounts.

In a letter sent to the superintendent of the school district, legal director of the ACLU of New Mexico Leon Howard said cutting a Native student’s hair is “unconscionable.”

The incident prompted the president of the Navajo Nation to call for “top to bottom” cultural sensitivity training for the entire school district.

“Our Native youths should not have to endure this kind of behavior, especially in the classroom,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said in a statement. “We will hold the teacher, the school and the district accountable for these actions, and we demand recourse.”

Albuquerque Public Schools issued a statement Monday saying the teacher was terminated last week. District spokeswoman Monica Armenta did not say whether the teacher resigned or was fired, according to The Associated Press.

“No additional information will be shared, because personnel matters are confidential,” Armenta said.