A Bunch Of Young Trump Supporters Crashed A Peaceful March And Taunted A Vietnam Vet
A group of Trump-supporting teens, allegedly students from a Catholic high school in the United States, are under fire for crashing a peaceful march designed to honour the country’s Indigenous community.
The inaugural Indigenous Peoples March, held on January 18, was a Washington D.C. demonstration that included song, dance, traditional prayer, and speeches from leading members of the Indigenous community.
But as the event was wrapping up, a group of young men, allegedly students from the Covington Catholic High School, who, according to some sources, were in D.C. on an excursion to protest a pro-choice march, surrounded some of the delegates. That’s when they began to chant Trumpist slogans, including “build that wall”, a rallying cry for Trump since the very beginning of his campaign.
This is elder Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder who is also a Vietnam Veteran and former director of the Native Youth Alliance.
He is a keeper of a sacred pipe and holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans in the Arlington National Cemetery.
I stand with him. pic.twitter.com/CplAvTlSQT
— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) January 19, 2019
The teenagers began staring down Nathan Phillips, an Indigenous elder, Vietnam veteran, and storied figure in the Indigenous community, as he sang a traditional song of unity and beat a drum.
One teen, who stood imposingly close to Phillips while making unbroken eye contact and grinning, a MAGA hat on his head, has been singled out as being particularly disrespectful.
To anyone who's ever been any kind of other, the goofy malice in that MAGA kid's eyes is instantly recognizable.
— Dave Holmes (@DaveHolmes) January 19, 2019
The teenagers circled the members of the peaceful Indigenous contingent, shouting and grinning. The behaviour has been described as “mob-like”.
In a video posted to Twitter, some of the teenagers can be seen laughing, dancing, and filming their own actions on mobile phones.
It’s even worse when you see the full mob effect. pic.twitter.com/Oe7Zn5srOB
— Lulu Says (@lulu_says2) January 19, 2019
The event has already drawn condemnation from a number of leading U.S. senators, including Ruth Buffalo, a representative from North Dakota, who described the behaviour as “just a snapshot of what Indigenous people have faced and are continuing to face.”
Phillips was interviewed shortly after the harassment occurred, and, while wiping away tears, expressed his hope that the teenagers might utilise their energy in a more positive way in the future.
“I wish I could see the energy of … those young men, used to make this country really, really great,” he says in the video.
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
It is worth noting that the Indigenous Peoples March is not an outwardly anti-Trump event, nor has it been designed to highlight issues pertaining to immigration. This makes the disrespect of the teenagers — not to mention their “build a wall” chant — even more misguided and overly hostile.
A bunch of kids yelling “Build the wall” at Native American Elders really hammers home that he wall isn’t about economics or mexico or even illegal immigration, it’s about white supremacy
— JT RealMuta (@FanSince09) January 19, 2019
For their part, the Catholic school that the teenagers allegedly attend has made an official response, extending their “deepest apologies” and making clear their intent to take “appropriate action” against the students, “up to and including expulsion.”