The Indigenous Peoples March in Washington on Friday coincided with the March for Life, which drew thousands of anti-abortion protesters, including a group from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills.
Videos circulating online show a youth staring at and standing extremely close to an elderly Native American man who was singing and playing a drum. Other youths, some wearing clothing with Covington logos, surrounded them, laughing and shouting. Many of the youths were also wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
The man in this video, being harassed by kids wearing #MAGA hats, is a Vietnam War veteran who honors Native American veterans buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
I cannot imagine where they would have learned this disgusting behavior.https://t.co/92WVqQWkSU
— TOᑭ ᖇOᑭE TᖇAViS (@TopRopeTravis) January 19, 2019
The “Indian Country Today” website identified the elderly man as Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran who holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.
State Rep. Ruth Buffalo, a North Dakota state lawmaker and member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, said she was saddened to see students showing disrespect to an elder who is also a U.S. military veteran at what was supposed to be a celebration of all cultures.
“The behavior shown in that video is just a snapshot of what indigenous people have faced and are continuing to face,” Buffalo said.U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, sharply criticized what she called a display of “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance.”
“This Veteran put his life on the line for our country,” she tweeted Saturday. “Heartbreaking.”