Catholic school apologizes after clips emerge of encounter between students and Native American activist

Screengrab from a viral video showcasing a confrontation between a Native American drummer and a group of Catholic high school students in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. Screenshot via YouTube.Screengrab from a viral video showcasing a confrontation between a Native American drummer and a group of Catholic high school students in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. Screenshot via YouTube.

Editor's note:This article and headline have been updated to reflect new information about the incident; see detailed corrections and update notes at the end of the story. See latest coverage of this incident here.

WASHINGTON (RNS) — A Catholic high school in Kentucky is apologizing after videos surfaced of students dressed in the school’s garb confronting and mocking a group of Native Americans—including one man believed to be a Vietnam War veteran—in Washington, D.C.

Several clips of the encounter circulating on social media show a small group of Native American drummers, who were in Washington for the Indigenous People’s March, being surrounded by a much larger band of teenagers.

Most were young men who wore hats or shirts bearing Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Others wore clothing with references to the March for Life, an anti-abortion event convened on Jan. 18 that the students attended.

Some of the young men wore hoodies that bore the logo of Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky.

In one of the videos, the young men clap along to the drumbeat of a man who Indian Country Today identified as Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam War veteran. But the moment quickly turns confrontational as the mass begins mocking the elderly man by shouting a faux Native American chant used by the Atlanta Braves and other sports teams.

The crowd then begins to laugh and shout as one young man, donning a Make America Great Again hat, stands in front of Phillips and stares, grinning.

As the crowd continues to heckle and chant, Phillips stares back and continues to drum, seemingly unfazed. But his companions appear to grow increasingly agitated as the crowd encircles them.

“You guys are acting like a mob!” one woman yells at the camera.

They released a joint statement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington Saturday afternoon.

“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.,” 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. 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.”

Chase Iron Eyes, lead counsel for the Lakota Peoples Law Project and a spokesperson for the Indigenous Peoples Movement, witnessed the encounter.

In an interview with RNS, Iron Eyes said Phillips and several others were closing out the ceremonies of the Indigenous Peoples March by blessing the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial when they observed 30 or 40 teenaged boys engaged in a back-and-forth with a small group of black religious demonstrators.

Another video widely shared on Jan. 20 showed the demonstrators repeatedly yelling insults and curses at the students. The students eventually responded by shouting school chants. One student removed his shirt as his companions yelled.

Iron Eyes said Phillips attempted to defuse the situation by offering a song, “trying to get young people to listen,” and video shows him walking over to the students while drumming. Iron Eyes called the AIM Song, associated with the 1970s American Indian Movement, a “spiritual symbol,” saying the wordless melody “is meant for all of us to sing.”

“To have our elders who are closing out, you know, a beautiful day—one that started kind of chilly and cold, but the sun came out and joined us and blessed us—to have them go through that was a particularly egregious ordeal,” he said.

Iron Eyes called the students behavior “unfortunate and sad.” He said that they were following the example of President Trump.

“They’re just responding to a president that is giving license to racists and bigots who have no place in our society,” he said.

Still, he expressed concern for the students.

“I wouldn’t even wish ill will on those kids,” he said.

In a statement posted online Sunday by CNN’s Jake Tapper, the student seen in the stare-down with Phillips said his actions also were an attempt to defuse the situation. Covington Catholic junior Nick Sandmann cited his Catholic faith and said he tries to live out its ideals, including being respectful of others and not taking any action that would lead to conflict or violence.

Sandmann said he was “startled and confused” when the elder walked up to him, drumming, and “said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”

“We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers,” he said.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati also criticized the students’ actions, tweeting that “incident at the March 4 Life was unfortunate & regrettable.”

According to Indian Country Today, Phillips is a former director of the Native Youth Alliance and holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans in the Arlington National Cemetery.

A separate clip posted to Twitter appears to show him emotionally reacting to the encounter.

“I heard them saying ‘build that wall.’ This is indigenous land —we’re not supposed to have walls here, we never did,” he said. “Before anybody else came here, we never had walls … We always took care of our elders, took care of our children.”

Phillips continued to speak over the sound of additional chanting in the distance: “I wish I could see the energy of that young mass of young men, put that energy into making this country really great — helping those that are hungry.”

Organizers of the Indigenous Peoples March condemned the incident.

“What we saw yesterday, the display surrounding Mr. Phillips, is emblematic of the state of our discourse in Trump’s America,” Darren Thompson, an organizer for the Indigenous Peoples Movement, said in a press release. “It clearly demonstrates the validity of our concerns about the marginalization and disrespect of Indigenous peoples, and it shows that traditional knowledge is being ignored by those who should listen most closely.”

In an initial statement, the March for Life described the behavior shown in the earliest shared videos as “reprehensible” and said that it did not represent the pro-life movement. The March for Life has since removed that statement from its website and Twitter account and now says they “will refrain from commenting further until the truth is understood.

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), the first Native American woman elected to Congress, decried the students’ actions on Twitter Saturday, saying they displayed “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance.”

Phillips was reportedly the victim of a separate incident of student harassment in 2015, when Eastern Michigan University students dressed as Native Americans allegedly threw a beer can at him and shouted racial slurs.

 

Corrections and updates:

RNS updated the original story with information from newly discovered videos of the incident and to clarify the details of the initial encounter between the Native American group and the students.

According to the first RNS filing, Iron Eyes said that students approached the Native American group which had observed them harassing others. The updated filing significantly revises that account and now reports that Native American group approached students after observing a verbal “back and forth” between the students and a third group.

Additionally, since the initial report on Jan. 19 one of the students has issued a statement strongly countering testimony of other actors from the encounter.

The story has also been updated to reflect the March for Life's withdrawal of its original statement.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

J Brookbank: I hope I didn't imply you didn't have a right to voice your point of view, of coarse you do! I just am having trouble with a whole group of people being bundled into one category. Perhaps your experience in Catholic education was very different from mine, but while not perfect by any stretch, I am thankful for it, and made sure my children had the same experience. As catholics, we have both moral and social teachings. Some reject the moral teachings, some the social, and others, such as myself, believe in both. Regardless, we can't all be lumped into one category, such as pro life therefore pro Trump. The same is true for the Kavanaugh case. The reality is, some of us quite simply did not find the women remotely credible, and maintain that belief.

Upon review of the videos, I do not share your view that the boys displayed arrogance. Like most high school field trips, they were standing around waiting for their buses. Nathan Phillips approached their group and joined in. You can see the boys are trying to connect their chanting (which they were doing before he arrived) with his drumming , at least initially and I'm not sure where these kids were supposed to move. Regardless, in hindsight, and after viewing the much longer video, I do not see anything that resembles arrogance or in need of major disciplinary action.

Imperfect people, and imperfect leaders does not make the Church wrong, just those representing it. In this case, as in many, it seems another diocese has rushed to do 'damage control' without so much as hearing a different point of view from those involved and at a time in history when it would seem that we are always asking for someone's head on a platter for any perceived violation of something. Our leaders should be leading by example, by at the very least hearing both sides before judgement.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Okay. Let's have kids go to school Tuesday and, when teachers/principals/coaches/priests/nuns/parents approach them (for any reason), let's encourage those kids to refuse to move while smirking and staring down those adults the way the kid in the hat did. Let's see how many of those kids 1) would dare to do it and 2) of those who do it how many are not in a tremendous amount of trouble.

Kids who see Native American men as equal to their fathers, teachers and priests would not have conducted themselves that way. They would have moved themselves and that arrogant thug in the MAGA hat out of the way.

Maggie Frost
1 year 9 months ago

J Brookbank, very well said.

Robert Lewis
1 year 9 months ago

"..."land gets stolen All the time. That is how it works".
Money on it that kid heard that at home and has repeated it at school"

I HOPE he did get told that at school, because it's the truth. It should be followed by the question, "So what are we going to do to change that?"
When you put it that way, you have to start thinking about matters that mainstream America doesn't want discussed in schools, such as "...How is that any different from what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians?" And, for that, you have to risk being called "anti-Semitic"--even when you are Jewish yourself!

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Absolutely agreed, Robert.

Except the kid's meaning was "get over it", a favorite phrase of many white Americans when our crimes against Native Americans and African Americans are mentioned.

Unfortunately, the spokeswoman from THAT kid's school said it just a flippant remark rather than the result of a racist education and culture, in which the dominant culture's preferred narrative and concerns and girls and pre-occuoations are the only legitimate focus of public dialogue.

A Palestinian woman I met recently likened the Israeli treatment of Palestiniabs to the treatment of Native Americans by the occupying
US government.

Vincent Gaglione
1 year 9 months ago

The old Catholic-school solution for every infraction: “If caught behaving like this at their school would they be disciplined? Yes, of course.” Maybe, just maybe, instead of punishment which is what you really mean, a whole lot of Christian behaviors by adults toward students and a whole lot of examples of adult Christian behaviors towards others who are “different”, might go a long way to producing Catholics instead of the mob that we saw on the video.

And if you are right that a Catholic school education can’t overcome the daily media in making students into Catholics, then maybe we should stop wasting our resources and shut them down. How many Catholic students of my generation (1950’s & 60’s) still attend Mass and attend to their Faith? A phenomenally small number to be sure! So much for Catholic education then. As this incident predicts, so much for Catholic education now!

Philip Fabiano
1 year 9 months ago

My son attended a local all boys Catholic School. Most of his friends were Jewish from the local public school. I often thought to myself that those kids and their parents exhibited the Christian values I did not see in his classmates and their parents.

Robert Lewis
1 year 9 months ago

Amen! But the blame should fall on the parents and the kids' teachers and the lazy, stupid Catholic clergy of the United States.

Todd Witherell
1 year 9 months ago

“We did not ask you white people to come here” - Crazy Horse

Maggie Frost
1 year 9 months ago

I’m very disturbed by the young man in the white cap as well. His open, twisted mouth, spewing vitriol, oh my heart just hurts. Deep respect to the Native Elder.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Looks like the video shown on most news casts, is not the only video, and may not fairly represent exactly what transpired. We may have to take a step back and see if we can get a bigger picture of what actually happened.

Stanley Kopacz
1 year 9 months ago

Be careful what you ask for.

Baron Corvo
1 year 9 months ago

This group of privileged, snot-nosed preppies can ALL be easily identified in the many video captures and still photographs taken of this shameful event, and each and every one of them need to be expelled from this "catholic" school when the task of identifying all of them is complete. The school has a total population of around 600 students, and this means that fully one-sixth of their student body is about to get the kind of second-rate, Kentucky-proud 'edumacation' they deserve...the kind inbred Kentucky trash deserves.

But they'll probably just get a reprimand, like privileged white boys like 'catholic' Brent Kavanaugh has gotten all thru his miserable life.

I am BEYOND disgusted with this.

Glad to note these neanderthal hillbillies took the focus totally away from the Fetus Worshippers.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Not a lot of love in your heart Baron, but plenty of stereotyping....it's scary really.

Baron Corvo
1 year 9 months ago

Keep your judgemental nonsense focused on the 'catholic boys' from Kentucky...nobody is interested in your attempts at deflection here.

Robert Lewis
1 year 9 months ago

Oh, yes, we ARE interested in her calling you out as the bigot you are!

Andrew Strada
1 year 9 months ago

"inbred Kentucky trash" , "neanderthal hillbillies" and "Fetus Worshippers"? The irony, Mr. Corvo, is that you probably consider yourself morally and intellectually superior to these kids. Your choice of words actually places you on the food chain somewhere below Donald Trump.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 8 months ago

Sounds like Corvo is using the language of the Black Hebrew Israelites. Perhaps, he is a member of that group.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Looks like a lot of self reflection needed here. My apologies to the boys at Covington for assuming what has been reported was actually accurate. Thankfully other footage has shown another version of the events.

Ellen B
1 year 9 months ago

Unfortunately, there's still video showing the tomahawk chops & the laughing. And now that older photos/video from the school are coming out (the black-face at basketball games or in Covington-speak "school spirit") I wouldn't apologize, I would ask, is that the best a Catholic HS can do?

Rhett Segall
1 year 9 months ago

It is vital that this situation be viewed in the context of other videos which make clear that the Covington students were not being unchristian . In fact the Covington student profiled is admirable in his restraint. I'm afraid here we have a case of "rash judgment". I'm guilty myself. Please in fairness view the following: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=59696&fbclid=IwAR3zBdOhfhQ_Pv7kwxr4F6NPt4JU2YenNo_VitKZpbKErJKFNs_JEvUt8uM

Laura Stewart
1 year 9 months ago

Parents send their children to your school because they believe they will have moral guidance. What plan do you have to teach these young adults? Expelling them will send a message to other students that the behavior was unacceptable. But what about the youngsters who were caught? Are they being told they are beyond hope? There must be some way you can educate these kids. And what will your actions do to undermine public schools which are already stretched to the limit and they don't need your angry rejects.

Diane Barbe
1 year 9 months ago

Did you see the entire video? Or just what the liberal media is showing? The activist Indigenous protestors walked up the the young people wanting a confrontation (their video camera atvthe ready) and started beating a drum in their faces. The other activists started yelling at them to “f*cking leave the country”. They wanted to provoke the kids into responding and, being teenagers, they did.

I have worked at historic sights in the DC area. We are invaded by these annoying teenagers every Spring. They have made rude and vile comments to me. They’re teenagers. Ignorant, arrogant and with iPhones for selfies. I do nothing to provoke them like this group did.

Watch the entire 8-9 minute video before being so quick to rush to judgment.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

My family and I are Christians. We are very strong Catholics-not by word of mouth but by our actions as Jesus Christ instructed us to do. We live in Binghamton, NY. My family, by our Catholic faith, live by the scripture-John 17: 20-23-the core of Christianity. It is difficult and challenging theologically and by faith to sustain the Christian faith without John 17:21. Christianity as handed to us by God, is practically unsustainable without John 17:21. This is a deposit of our faith.

As a parent, in the last decade I had consistently been part of the pilgrimage to March For Life. All my children attended the March For Life faithfully and religiously until they all left for colleges except one. The last one in the house who is preparing to go to college attended the 2019 edition of March For Life where the horrible and ugly repudiation of our faith by the Covington Diocese kids-(who wore the hats of a political party-Republican Party and Donald Trump) from the Diocese of Covington happened. The actions of these Catholic kids from Kentucky is a promotion of hatred, racism, intolerance, disrespect, bigotry.

But people and adults who blame the kids are wrong. I will not blame the kids. Rather, I will interrogate the type flawed faith formation, the type of flawed catechism that produced the Covington Diocese kids and their actions, the kind of catechism that leads us-adults- everyday to look the other way as racism, bigotry, hatred, xenophobia are becoming the organizing principles of our society under the present administration of Mr. Donald J. Trump.

The irony here is that the Covington Diocese kids were presumably on a “Life” pilgrimage. On that pilgrimage, they were practically confronted with the need to defend the real life of Mr. Nathan Phillips, the life of a Native American elderly man, a veteran of this country. Like the Pharisees of the scripture, these kids failed to defend the life of Mr. Nathan Phillips perhaps because they were not properly catechized about real life; rather they were wrongly catechized about life as ideologically and politically defined by the scripturally and theologically flawed catechism they were fed with in their faith formation classes. Like some sections of the Evangelical and Catholic Christians the life of Mr. Nathan Phillips, the Native American elderly man was invisible to my fellow Catholics from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky! It is depressing. It is frightening. It is religiously traumatic that this happened in a religious pilgrimage for life, the March For Life.

As parents, Mom and I have chaperoned to many catholic youth events, Mom and I have accompanied our children to many catholic events so I know what I am talking about. Actually, painfully, I missed the 2019 March For Life because I had a conflicting weekend schedule in my diocese. I had registered as a chaperone, I had to withdraw because of the conflict in schedule. So, the critical point is why are we surprised? These kids-who were prepared by their school-Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky- and Diocese of Covington for the pilgrimage to March For Life - put on the MAGA hats of Mr. Donald Trump and the Republican party. In other words, their school, their diocese and their chaperones prepared them for this.

Yet, the same Mr. Trump (whose MAGA hats these kids wore) in practice, and in life is a walking and a complete repudiation and nullification of Christianity. Mr. Trump whose hats these kids wore espouses anti-family values, hatred, bigotry, sexism and racism. We know this yet we pretend we do not know, or we want to look the other way for political reasons. I am putting this on record as a Christian and as strong Catholic. We are living witnesses to how some priests and parishes in the country subtly campaigned for this same man -Mr. Trump-whose hats these kids donned. Also, we are living witnesses to how some parishes subtly and slyly deployed their apparatus and resources to defend the nomination of Mr. Brett Kavanaugh because they argued that Mr. Brett Kavanaugh is a Catholic and that he went to a Catholic school. I was part of that Kavanaugh debate and conversation on this platform-the AmericaMagazine.

So, Mr. Kavanaugh is a Catholic and went to a Catholic school, these kids who failed to acknowledge the life of Mr. Nathan Phillips while they were on a March For Life pilgrimage are also Catholics, they are also attending Catholic school! See? Question is: Why are we outraged at one and silent at the other when both are defenders of a racist and bigoted political ideology of the Republican party and of Mr. Trump? Why? Why can’t we walk our Christian and Catholic talk as true and practicing Christians and as true and practicing Catholics? We should walk the prayers of our rosary. We should walk the prayers of our Liturgy of the hours. Those beautiful, valid and sound prayers are not abstract and frozen statements; those prayers are not mere sentences devoid from faith and street conditions. Rather, those beautiful Catholic prayers are products of our practical faith, private, personal, public and street lives. They are results of our lived conditions, hence we pray these prayers for our Christian salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. So let us walk these prayers and teach our kids to walk them.

It would seem that some Catholics and a section of the pro-Life advocates have become so frozen, so abstract, so ideologized about our faith such they have emptied a beautiful, sound and valid faith agenda like pro-life of its religious meaning, beauty, and substance and turned it into a political party or the inane enabler of a political party, the branch of a political party such that some of its proponents and defenders fail to see life on the streets, life in practice-the life of Mr. Nathan Phillips. Why? I do not know. One can only speculate. It may be because the life of Mr. Nathan Phillips is invisible to these sections of the pro-life advocates. It may be because the life of Mr. Nathan Phillips is not the kind of life these sections of the pro-life advocates are looking for. It may be because the life of the likes of Mr. Nathan Phillips is not the life they were taught in their faith formation classes and catechism. Since these Covington Diocese kids also shouted “Build The Wall” (The slogan of the Republican Party and Mr. Trump) in a religious March For Life, it may also be because Mr. Nathan Phillips does not look like them.

But the Catholic Church is a universal Church. We biblical and scripture Catholics will not stand by while politicians of all hues and shades hijack our beautiful faith and turn it into a political tool for their own narrow political and cultural goals. We true Catholics live by the scripture not by the transient politics and culture of the day. So, this conversation must continue in all dioceses. It should be carried into the other big event of Catholic Youths-the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis.

The organizers of the March For Life must take a decision. Let us have things on record so that all of us Catholics will be on the same page. Is our Catholicism, our faith a political tool of a political party or is it the religious path to our salvation in Christ? Is March For Life a religious march or a political march of the Republican party? Is March For Life a religious march or a political front of the Republican party? This is crucial because today both the Republican party and Mr. Trump do not represent nor stand for total life from conception till death and family values-values which the March For Life was created to promote. Both the Republican party and Mr. Trump are negations of true family Christian values which the March For Life is supposed to promote. I am putting this out explicitly and concretely and responses must be based on facts, history, reason and logic, and not abuse. So do not blame the Covington Diocese Catholic kids. Rather interrogate the faith formation and catechism that produced the Covington Diocese Catholic kids and their xenophobic, rude, intolerant, bigoted and racist actions against life in a religious pilgrimage for life-March For Life.

James Schwarzwalder
1 year 9 months ago

As with many other incidents, including alleged police brutality, it would be prudent to review all videos of the entire incident from start to finish from all possible sources and angles. That has been the practice of the National Football League when playoff referee calls are challenged by coaches and replays from numerous angles are reviewed by the officials. All those involved in this recent incident in Washington DC deserve no less. There are many factors at play here according to the press coverage and comments. Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of how we choose to dress and freedom to picket or demonstrate or verbally protest. I was not able to down load and view a full video of the entire incident from start to finish. The "stare off" reminded me of when Saint Pope John Paul II met the Dali Lama for the first time. According to news reports following their meeting, the two stared at each other for five or so minutes face to face before either spoke a word. In the present case one person was making noise or music and the other was silent. Certain behavior deemed undesirable may be within your legal rights. Who first encroached upon who's private space needs to be established. Last time I checked immaturity was not a crime.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

The full video provides context. It does not exonerate these kids of racist behavior. See my response to Lisa above.

Joseph J Dunn
1 year 9 months ago

The statement:
"Several clips of the encounter circulating on social media show a small group of Native American drummers, who were in Washington for the Indigenous People’s March, being surrounded by a much larger band of teenagers."in the second paragraph of this story is incorrect and misleading. The links provided in the paragraph do not respond to my clicks. The videos that do show the event show the Native American group approaching the students. Nathan Phillips and others walk voluntarily toward and into the group of students, while Phillips beats a drum and chants. The students chant, some laugh. But there is no pushing, no confinement of Phillips or the other drum-playing Native American. The woman who says "You guys are acting like a mob" is standing, clearly in no distress, near Phillips. The drum beating and chanting go on for several minutes, and there is no indication that Phillips, etal, are uncomfortable. They are unrestricted and free to leave at any time, but choose to stay. Eventually the students leave. From the several videos I was able to find online, which include audio, and the videos in this article, I see no reason for the school to apologize, and no basis for disciplinary action. I do wonder about the wisdom of an adult who would walk toward and into a group of teens if he believed them, rightly or wrongly, to be taunting, confrontational, or "acting like a mob." But its a free country, and as it turns out the teens were fine, from the available video evidence.

P J Guarco
1 year 9 months ago

I think you owe the kids an apology for the way you wrote this story. They seem to have been victimized in the same way Shirley Sherrod was by right wing agitators a few years ago. I just received the list of Jesuit child abusers from the Northeast Province last week, including a number from my Jesuit high school. You showed more compassion to those abusers than you show to these kids. Shame on you.

P J Guarco
1 year 9 months ago

https://reason.com/blog/2019/01/20/covington-catholic-nathan-phillips-video?fbclid=IwAR13001KvidGHQlmaSrGPlnIDWPSje1daWKQ9KvKXYgxLIqH_NsXGG6C8MQ

Beth Egbers
1 year 9 months ago

Oops, the truth came out. You fell for (or knowingly promulgated?) fake news.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

I have seen the other videos. If Native American men were considered equals with their fathers, priests, teachers and coaches, the arrogant thug in the MAGA hat would not have stood ----- and would not have been encouraged and allowed ----- to stand nose-to-nose, smirking, staring down that man.

And Catholic adults wouldn't be
defending behavior which, if the man had been the priest !or God forbid the football coach), would have that kid in a world of trouble and hurt.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 9 months ago

The boy with the MAGA hat was standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with people behind him. There was no place for him to go and the elderly Indian man with the drum went right up to his face with the drum and beat it less than an inch from his face. The elderly Indian man was the aggressor. He probably picked the young man out because of the hat. I think you should apologize for your false portrayal. Here is the student's statement https://nyp.st/2sDELsD

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Nonsense.

The best thing I have read on this: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/maga-teenager-native-american-veteran-harassment-smile.html

JR Cosgrove
1 year 9 months ago

You provided an extremely misleading and inaccurate news story to back your account. There is video of the entire episode and the elderly Indian man clearly comes from a distance right up to the face of the young man and beats a drum in his face. How one could defend such an action is beyond me. The article is doxing the young man and that is beyond the pale. The young man did absolutely nothing wrong. See http://bit.ly/2W6v17R for how this story went one way and now the complete opposite.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

The hard truth about this moment in time is this:.

Non-white Americans have been treated disrespectfully/violently/unjustly forever. They haven't been able to prove it and have been told they were lying.

Now they can, with phone cameras. Object lessons everywhere we turn and the lesson is "Racist behavior will cost you. Bigly."

In this case, disrespecting a Native American elder will cost you. Bigly. So step back and wipe that arrogant smirk off your face.

PS the Slate link was to an opinion piece, not a news article.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

The injustices inflicted on minorities does not give us the right to create a narrative too in this case. I just don't see it. There are plenty of incidents that leave little doubt. This isn't one of them.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Lisa, like I said, let's have the kids at your kids' school defy an adult like this Tuesday and see what happens.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Maybe you are right, and I was just a brat as a kid by nature, but it certainly would never have been motivated by race or religion and I don't think we should determine that is the case here without knowing so.

Denise Delurgio
1 year 9 months ago

Brookbank you are so out of line. "Arrogant thug..." This kid was the exact opposite. You are on a trip of your own.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Denise, the only appropriate response when a teenager sees an older man walking toward him is to step aside so the man can pass. Had this kid pulled this with a priest, a teacher, a coach, a friend's father or any other man, he would have been in a world of hurt.

Had a a young black man blocked the path of and, smirk in place, stared down an older white man praying the rosary aloud, 'arrogant thug" would have been one of the milder descriptions.

It is entirely possible THAT youth would have been maced, thrown to the ground, cuffed and arrested.

Yes, this kid is an arrogant thug.

(PS his statement was released and distributed by a Louisville PR firm)

Denise Delurgio
1 year 9 months ago

Brookbank you are so out of line. "Arrogant thug..." This kid was the exact opposite. You are on a trip of your own.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 9 months ago

Nathan Phillips Lied. The Media Bought It

Mr. Phillips is the elderly Indian gentleman in this incident. http://bit.ly/2FDM1gA

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

J, people are responding to exactly what happened: a smart-ass white Catholic kid, in town to impose his religion on all Americans, disrespecting a Native American elder who is drumming.

Most Americans are tired of racist behavior.

Some Americans are tired of white Americans, including smart-ass white kids, getting caught on camera treating non-white people disrespectfully.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 9 months ago

You have just misrepresented what happened. You are actually making the opposite case by providing inaccurate accounts. Someone comes from a distance and gets within a couple inches of your face and shoves a beating drum in your face and you then remain still. How is this young man disrespecting anyone. It is the elderly gentleman that is doing all the disrespecting.

Philip Fabiano
1 year 9 months ago

Mark Harris in a tweet explained it well:

@MarkHarrisNYC
One reason that video is cutting so deep today: The smug, fixed, chilly smile. That's not a teenager out of control. It's the familiar gleam of a zealot. Never in the history of this country has that look portended anything but bad news.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Exactly.

And to the statement released by his Louisville PR company does nothing to change that reality.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

I think at this stage the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops need to step into this issue. I say this for the following reasons.
I am a Catholic. I am a parent. Mom and I have been chaperones to Catholic youths in our area to Catholic youth events. As Chaperones we prepare the youths during these events and pilgrimages. Like our liturgy which is rightly called work, preparing these youths for these pilgrimages is work, real work, serious work for the parishes, the priests, the deacons, the youth ministers, the lay ministers and the chaperones. Part of the preparation includes transportation, food, lodging and accommodation, pilgrimage stop points, clothes, dress, head gears, neck ties etc.

Now some of us have alluded to freedom of speech and assembly. I grant that because it means those who make this point believe we-individually have our freedom to be whoever and whatever we want to be. Presumably that includes freedom to be racists, to be bigots, to be intolerant, to be disrespectful. Even when I do not accept that, even when it is impossible to be a scriptural and biblical Christian and scriptural and biblical Catholic (not cultural Christian or cultural Catholic) and be a racist and a bigot at the same time, even when I will not educate, catechize my children to be racists and bigots, I grant that it is a free world, and we have the freedom of speech to say anything and the freedom to be who we want to be including being racists and bigots.
However, let me be clear and say that one cannot be biblical or scriptural Christian or Catholic and be a racist or be free to be a racist. However, one can be a cultural “Christian” and cultural “Catholic” and be a racist or be free to be racist because being a cultural “Christian” or cultural “Catholic” has nothing to do with the bible or scriptures. To cultural “Christians” and cultural “Catholics”, Christianity is a mere culture hence they will tell you they have been “Christian” or “Catholic” from womb and since the day they were born! There is room in the beliefs of cultural “Christian” or “Catholic” to be free to be racist. There is no such room for scriptural or biblical Christian or Catholic. This simply means that the fundamentals of our faith the Christian faith as biblical and scriptural Christians and Catholics do not leave room for us to be racists or be free to be racists. There is no freedom to be racist if one is a scriptural or biblical Christian or Catholic because racism and Christianity and Catholicism contradict one another. One has to drop one for the other.
Now these are the questions for the organizers of and the leadership of the March For Life and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

1. Is the March For Life a religious march or a political march? They must answer this question.

2. Given that the Covington Catholic kids from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky- and Diocese of Covington put on the political hats of a Republican party politician-Mr. Donald J. Trump, and the sweat shirt of same politician, Mr. Trump, to a religious march-March For Life, the relevant question is: is the March For Life a political rally of the Republican party and of Mr. Donald J. Trump, the president of the country?

3. Given that we chaperones, the diocese, the parishes consciously and actively prepare and catechize these youths for the catholic youth events, it means the Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky- and Diocese of Covington, and the chaperones prepared and catechized the youths, a preparation that includes allowing the wearing of political apparels of politicians during an important life religious march like March For Life. Is this sanctioning and preparation correct? Is this kind of preparation and catechism correct? Is this appropriate given that the Church is made of human beings with different political views and we ought not turn Christ Church into a political party or the branch and enabler of a political party, the Republican party and political agenda of Mr. Trump?

4. These kids were shouting-“Build The Wall”- the political slogan of Mr. Donald J. Trump, a politician of the republican party, and the president of the country. Now Given that we chaperones, the diocese, the parishes prepare these youths for the catholic youth events, does it mean that the Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky- and Diocese of Covington, and the chaperones aaproved the political slogans -Build The Wall-these Covington Catholic kids openly espoused during an important religious march like the March For Life? Is “Build The Wall” a pro-life slogan? Is shouting this slogan of a political party, and wearing the political outfits of politicians and political parties in a religious rally part of freedom of expression and assembly?

5. If the March For Life stopped being a religious event, if the March For Life has lost its original religious meaning and has become a political rally of the Republican party, then where is its religious meaning? If this is true, why can’t we simply remove the mask and simply call it what it is appearing to be (given the actions and appearances of the Covington Catholic youths from Covington diocese, Kentucky)-the March For Life of the Republican Party? Why pretend? Why can’t we truthfully just remove the mask?

6. I ask these questions because if as a chaperone I prepare youths for a pilgrimage, and my preparation is solely religious while other chaperones and dioceses as we have it in the Covington diocese case prepare their youths to come to same pilgrimage to espouse the political views-either left or right of the ideological spectrum-of a political party or politician, then there is a serious issue of trust and confidence. This is because I attend Catholic and Christian pilgrimages for religious purposes and not for political -left or right of the ideological spectrum-purposes. We are in deep trouble if I cannot trust my fellow chaperones, my fellow pilgrims not to come to pilgrimages with a private political agenda-either of the left or of the right of the ideological spectrum.

7. As humans we have our different political views and party affiliations and we must respect fellow Christians and Catholics by keeping such political views at home when we come to Christ Church to worship and to Christian pilgrimages-such as March For Life- to rally. To bring our private political agenda to pilgrimages and places of worship is not only rude, arrogant and disrespectful, it violates the fundamentals of our faith-which is to build a community of Christian faithful-not political or ideological faithful. And it would be an insult to our collective intelligence to claim that the Republican party and Mr. Trump represent family values (which the March For Life correctly represents and espouses)-otherwise we will wrongly be saying that adultery, fornication, sexual abuse, sexism, wife abuse, racism, bigotry, are compatible with family values and Christian faith and life. This is why the organizers of the March For Life and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops need to step into an issue like this urgently and stop politicians -both of the left and the right-from using the youths and the Church as political pawns and platforms for their political agenda before this destroys the church.

Our church, the Catholic church has enough problems and challenges. We have the issue of cleric sex abuse hanging over our heads as a Church. To again turn the Church into a political party, and the enabler of political parties is abusing the trust and innocence of parishioners, thus adding to our problems. Sections of evangelical Christians can do this i.e. turn their denomination into an arm of the republican party. Their –(section of the evangelical Christians)-theological schools are branches of the republican party. As Catholics we cannot do this because we carry the mission of Christ from the early days of the Church, which is an inclusive universal message of the gospel to all nations. So, as Catholics, we cannot afford to turn the Catholic Church into a racist and bigoted enclave and the arm and enabler of a political party by mis-catechizing our youths.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Adeolu , Way too much is being made of the Trump hats, and it seems people forget what it's like to be a kid. You can tell in the video by the rims of the hats that they are brand new, obviously just a token gift from their trip. Mass hysteria for nothing, and no, I'm NOT a Trump supporter, but I don't pigeon hole people who are. I'm glad I'm not a teenager now, where my days of crank phone calls and ringing doorbells would be the fault of my Catholic upbringing, my pro life beliefs, and my 'elite' Catholic schooling.
To refer to these children as racist, with little to go on, is not in line with our faith that expects us to at least give people the benefit of the doubt. The additional video has certainly given us that.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 9 months ago

Mr. Ademoyo

I suggest you watch the videos of the incident. I have now watched nearly 2 hours of various takes. For example, no one has provided one about the kids shouting "build the wall." If that is true, should you correct your comment to reflect that?

Chris Sullivan
1 year 9 months ago

J Cosgrove. You appear to be correct. I have yet to see any evidence that the students really did chant "build the wall".

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