Native American Congresswoman Condemns White Teens Who Taunted an Omaha Elder

“A signal of how common decency has decayed under this administration.”

Teenaged boys surrounded Nathan Phillips (right) as he sang in Washington, DC, on Friday. KC NOLAND/YouTube

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Footage of white teenagers taunting a Native American man in Washington, DC, has sparked outrage and prompted a Native American member of Congress to condemn their “display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance.”

A video of the incident, which occurred yesterday, shows a large group of boys, almost entirely white, some wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, surrounding and mocking a man as he sings and drums as part of the Indigenous Peoples March. Indian Country News identified the man as Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam Veteran.

One boy stood directly in front of Phillips, smirking as those around him chanted and made “tomahawk chops” with their hands. The teens were reportedly in Washington, DC, to attend the March for Life as part of a trip sponsored by their school, Covington Catholic High School, in Park Hills, Kentucky.

Speaking after the incident, Shilling, looking shaken, recounted what had happened: “I heard them saying, ‘Build that wall, build that wall.’ You know, this is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here; we never did.” He said he wished that the “mass of young men” who taunted him would “put that energy into making this country really great.”

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), who recently took her seat as one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, condemned the boys’ behavior and linked it to President Donald Trump: 

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covingtion, which operates the boys’ school, issued a statement saying was looking into the incident. 

Update: In a statement to the Enquirer, the diocese condemned the boys’ actions and apologized to Phillips. “The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion,” it said.

 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate