Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) on Saturday condemned students shown in a video mocking and yelling at a Native American man at the first annual Indigenous Peoples March the previous day.
This Veteran put his life on the line for our country. The students’ display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance is a signal of how common decency has decayed under this administration. Heartbreaking. https://t.co/NuPnYu9FP4
— Congresswoman Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) January 19, 2019
Haaland and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) became the first Native American congresswomen in American history when they were sworn in earlier this month.
The statement mirrored similar outrage and frustration across the web, and within Congress.
I have to admit: I know Nathan Phillips personally … he is a Vietnam Veteran … As a Native man, and as a Native Veteran and Army Lieutenant … I am FURIOUS!!! https://t.co/WQBQcV71Y9
— Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling) January 19, 2019
Dear Covington Catholic: I went to a Catholic high school and am a follower of Christ. Jesus taught us to act in the exact opposite manner of how your students behaved.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 19, 2019
Indian Country Today identified the man in the video as Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam War veteran. The website said of Phillips: “He is also a keeper of a sacred pipe and holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans in the Arlington National Cemetery.”
At one point in the footage, a woman tells the students: “You guys are acting like a mob, that’s what’s going on. Fucking mob mentality. It’s awesome, because you guys are what, like 16? How old are you?”
Some of the students mocking Phillips in the video are wearing Trump campaign apparel. Others are wearing Covington Catholic High School gear.
TPM’s request for comment to the Kentucky school’s principal and assistant principals has gone unanswered. A school calendar for Covington Catholic shows that students were planning on being in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18 and 19 for the March for Life, an anti-abortion event.
In a statement released to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High said:
“We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. 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 and including expulsion.
“We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement.”
Watch footage of the incident below, via YouTube user KT NOLAND:
Twitter users posted more footage:
It’s even worse when you see the full mob effect. pic.twitter.com/Oe7Zn5srOB
— Lulu Says (@lulu_says2) January 19, 2019
Phillips said separately that he heard the students chanting “Build that wall!”
“This is indigenous land,” he said. “We’re not supposed to have walls here. We never did.”
Thank you to @VinceSchilling of @IndianCountry and many others who identified the proud Native man who is being harassed. He is Mr. Nathan Phillips. I’m reposting this video from “ka_ya11” on IG. This man’s words pierce my heart. The grace. The wisdom. The hope. pic.twitter.com/BKOA40SVq5
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 19, 2019
H/t The Hill.