The Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, unfortunately, coincided with the March for Life, which drew thousands of anti-abortion protesters, including a group from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills.
A recently circulating video, shows a teenager staring, grinning and standing extremely close to Nathan Phillips, a 64-year-old Native American Vietnam veteran, who was singing and playing a drum. The teen was accompanied by other students who were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and sweatshirts, chanting ‘Build That Wall’ and laughing.
In a joint statement, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School apologized to Phillips, and officials said they are investigating and will take “appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.” The statement read, “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.”
In another circulating video, Phillips said, “When I was there singing, I heard them saying ‘Build that wall, build that wall,'” as he wiped away tears. “This is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here. We never did.”
According to Stars N Stripes, U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, who is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, tweeted criticism and called a “heartbreaking” display of “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance.”
Haaland, who is also Catholic, placed some of the blame on #DonaldTrump, who has used Indian names like Pocahontas as an insult. “It is sad that we have a president who uses Native American women’s names as racial slurs, and that’s an example that these kids are clearly following considering the fact that they had their ‘Make America Great Again’ hats on,” Haaland said. “He’s really brought out the worst in people.”