A group of mostly teen age high school students wearing “Make America Great Again” (#MAGA) hats harassed a Native American Vietnam War veteran in front of the Lincoln Memorial during Friday’s first Indigenous Peoples March.
The teens were visiting Washington D.C. as part of a field trip from the Covington Catholic school in Kentucky.
It was probably fait accompli that an encounter like this would occur since ironically the Indigenous People’s March was scheduled at the same time as the pro-life rally March For Life, and Covington Catholic’s website shows that students and faculty attended the rally.
After the video went viral and celebrities like Patton Oswalt and Ava Duvernay tweeted at the school—Covington made their Twitter account private.
The gentleman being harassed is Nathan Phillips, according to Indian Country Today
Today said that Phillips is an Omaha elder who is also a Vietnam Veteran and former director of the Native Youth Alliance. He is also a keeper of a sacred pipe and holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans in the Arlington National Cemetery.
In the video below Phillips responds to the harassment.
“I heard them saying ‘build that wall, build that wall.’ This is indigenous land, you’re not supposed to have walls here. We never did for a millennia. We never had a prison; we always took care of our elders, took care of our children, always provided for them, taught them right from wrong. I wish I could see that energy—put that energy to making this country really, really great.”