Perspectives on the Covington Catholic students’ encounter with Native American elder


Photo courtesy of WikiCommons

An uproar escalated this weekend after a video surfaced showing a group of Catholic school boys surrounding indigenous marchers taking place in the “Indigenous Peoples March” in Washington, D.C.

The initial video released shows a young man wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap while smugly staring at an indigenous man banging a drum. Other young men surrounding the two wear clothing representing the Covington Catholic School in Park Hill, Kentucky and can be heard chanting loudly.

The indigenous man banging the drum has been identified as Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder of the Omaha tribe and a Vietnam era veteran.

The original video caused major backlash and the Covington Catholic school issued an apology stating they would “take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.”

Now, a new video has surfaced depicting a fuller picture of the events.

In the new video, African American men who identified themselves as the “ Black Hebrew Israelites” can be heard shouting hateful comments towards the boys, causing an escalation among the students and the men. One student can then be seen taking off his shirt, and an eruption of chanting and shouting from the boys can be heard.

In a statement given to CNN, Nick Sandmann, the student confronted by Nathan Phillips, says

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group.”

Concluding his participation in the “Indigenous Peoples March”,  Nathan Phillips noticed the verbal clash and walked up to the boys while banging a drum and chanting.

In another interview with CNN, Phillips says, “The song I was singing, the reason for it, was to bring unity and to bring love and compassion back into our minds and our beings as men and as protector of what is right.”