USA: Kentucky students in MAGA hats mock Native American veteran

Teenagers from Covington Catholic High School filmed jeering at Nathan Phillips and chanting ‘build that wall’

Sun 20 Jan 2019 – The Guardian UK

Play Video 1:13
 Native American mocked by students in Maga hats – video report

A Catholic school in Kentucky has condemned a group of its students after they were recorded harassing a Native American Vietnam veteran in a video that went viral on Saturday.

The students, many of whom were wearing “Make America Great Again” caps, from private, all-male Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills were in Washington for an anti-abortion rally on Friday when they were filmed surrounding Nathan Phillips and mocking the Native American’s singing and drumming.           

One teen in particular is seen standing in front of Phillips, staring into his face with a smile. Fellow students, many in hats and sweatshirts with President Donald Trump’s “MAGA” slogan, cheered him on and chanted, “build the wall, build the wall”, Phillips said.

The video prompted a torrent of outrage online. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted that the footage “brought me to tears”, while actor Chris Evans tweeted that the students’ actions were “appalling” and “shameful”.

In a joint statement, the high school and Diocese of Covington condemned the actions of the students “towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general”.

“We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips,” the statement read. “This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.”

“The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to an including expulsion.”

“The videos being shared across the nation do NOT represent the core beliefs and values of this city,” he said in a statement.

In a separate video uploaded to social media, the 64-year-old Phillips, an elder of Nebraska’s Omaha tribe, wiped away tears as he described the incident.

He told The Washington Post that while he was drumming, he thought about his wife, Shoshana, who died of bone marrow cancer nearly four years ago, and the threats that indigenous communities around the world are facing.

“I felt like the spirit was talking through me,” Phillips said.

Phillips holds an annual ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honor Native American veterans, according to media reports.

He is a well-known Native American activist who was among those leading the Standing Rock protests in 2016-2017 against the construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota.

Democratic US Congresswoman Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo tribe, said on Twitter that Phillips had risked his life for his country, and that the students showed “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance”.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report

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  • Ian Nascimento  On January 22, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    The accusations are BS. The students did not approach the indians, they stood quietly and the indians approached them (got in their face and the students just held their ground without any recourse). LOOK AT THE VIDEO BEFORE YOU MAKE JUDGMENT!!!

  • Ian Nascimento  On January 22, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Of all the minorities in America, I think the Indians (Native Americans) were probably mistreated the most (in the past). They were robbed of their dignity, homes, land, freedom but not any more. Laws and regulations have changed all those bad things the American ancestors did. Why does 10 and 15 generations later we (the new generation) Americans have to keep paying for the past wrongs. Most of us don’t agree with what happened in the past but we are paying for it over and over again financially and emotionally because the liberals are always using the race card to get votes and the voters that support them can’t see it, are too stupid to realize it, or want something for nothing.

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