A group of teenagers in "Make America Great Again" hats harbaded a veteran of the Vietnam Native War during the first Indigenous Peoples' March on Friday. Now the old Native American is talking about the terrible experience.
The video posted online captures the disturbing incident in Washington, DC, after a group of teenagers surrounds Nathan Phillips, taunting and harbading him as he sings the song of the American Indian Movement on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Phillips served in the Vietnam War and is the former director of the Native Youth Alliance, according to Indian Country Today.
The video, posted on YouTube by user KC Noland, also went viral on Twitter.
A teenager is seen, in particular, to block Philips, watching the old man adequately while playing his song. Teens in the background seem to encourage bullying.
Users on social networks identified the teenagers as students at Covington Catholic School in Kentucky because of the badge on some of their clothes. Laura Keener, the communications director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, issued a statement Saturday saying they were investigating the incident.
"We just heard about this incident and regret that it happened," according to a Keener statement obtained by the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We are investigating."
The March of Indigenous Peoples on Friday took place on the same day as the March For Life pro-life rally, and the Covington Catholic website shows that students and faculty attended the rally. The school's Twitter became private after the viral video.
HuffPost contacted the Catholic school in Covington for comments, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
A video of Phillip's response that appears to have been recorded on Friday was posted on Saturday on Twitter.
"I heard them say, build that wall, build that wall," Phillips said as he wiped away his tears. "This is indigenous land, you're not supposed to have walls here, we never did it for millennia, we never had a prison, we always looked after our elders, we took care of our children, always cared for them, we taught them the good of evil. I could see that energy … put that energy to make this country really great. "
Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), One of the first Native American women elected to Congress, said the students showed "blatant hatred" against Phillips.
"This veteran put his life in danger for our country," Haaland said on Twitter. "The display of shame, disrespect and shameless intolerance of the students is a sign of how common decency has declined under this administration.
This veteran risked his life for our country. The display of shame, disrespect and shameless intolerance of the students is a sign of how common decency has declined under this administration. Distressing. https://t.co/NuPnYu9FP4
– Congressman Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) January 19, 2019
Phillips also faced racial discrimination in 2015 when he said that students at Eastern Michigan University were dressed in feathers with their faces painted, mocking the senior leader.
"[The students] He started screaming and yelling, "Phillips told FOX 2 News at the time." I said I was not honoring, I was racist. Then at that time, it really got ugly. "Phillips said he was subjected to racist insults by the group during that incident.