A Cal State Sacramento University professor who allegedly told his United States History class he did not like the term ‘genocide’ in relation to Native Americans in history, told a Native American student who disagreed with him that she was disenrolled and expelled from his course.
UPDATE: The Sacramento State History Department has issued a tweet stating Johnson was not expelled from the course. You can read the article update here: Sac State History Dept Tweets – “Student Not Disenrolled.”
The account is according to Native university student, Chiitaanibah Johnson (Navajo/Maidu) a 19-year-old sophomore student at Cal State Sacramento University.
Johnson says when she told her U.S. History Professor Maury Wiseman that she disagreed with his assessment that Native Americans did not face genocide, the professor said she was hijacking his class, and that she was accusing him of bigotry and racism.
The professor then dismissed the class early, apologized for Johnson’s disruptions and told her she was disenrolled at the end of the class on Friday.
“The whole thing started on Wednesday,” Johnson told ICTMN. “He was talking about Native America and he said the word genocide. He paused and said ‘I don’t like to use that word because I think it is too strong for what happened’ and ‘genocide implies that it was on purpose and most native people were wiped out by European diseases.'”
Johnson, who was offended, did not at first respond to the professor’s comments.
“I wrote it down. I was enraged for what I felt were obvious reasons. I didn’t say anything [on Wednesday] because I knew that if I didn’t have anything specific to back it up in terms of tangible or solid evidence that he would not take my comments into consideration,” she said.
On Friday, Johnson presented her research to the professor after his discussion on the Iroquois Confederacy and the Portuguese expeditions.
“He made it a point to say indigenous people were not peaceful. I was upset for obvious reasons. He’d mentioned how the French and the Dutch were allies and made it a point to say native people were killing each other before white settlers arrived.”
Johnson says that she understands that there were native conflicts before settlers arrived, but when the professor talked about the bravery of Portuguese expeditions without emphasis on the slave trade she again grew upset.
“On Friday, I raised my hand and I said, ‘I understand why we’re talking about the Portuguese people because it explains how they got to America. But I do not think it is fair to talk about Portuguese people as if they were only poor and brave. They became rich by raping and enslaving the indigenous lands and people that they “discovered,'” says Johnson.
To read the entire article and get updates on the situation, click here.