A grinning teen wearing a red Make America Great Again hat stood inches from a Native American who was chanting and playing a ceremonial drum during an Indigenous Peoples March.
Video of the intense interaction Friday shows supporters in the crowd who appear to be wearing clothing with the insignia of Covington Catholic High School, an all-boys private parochial school in Kentucky, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
"We are just now learning about this incident and regret it took place," Laura Keener, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, told the Enquirer. "We are looking into it."
The school’s social media channels were switched to private.
Later Saturday, the school and the Diocese of Covington issued a joint apology.
"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general. ... 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 statement said, the Enquirer reported. "The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion."
Students from the school participated in a March for Life event in Washington the same day as the Indigenous Peoples March, according to the school's website.
Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam veteran and former director of the Native Youth Alliance, is the man beating the drum and chanting the AIM Song, Indian Country Today reported.
Phillips said he heard the group chanting, “Build that wall, build that wall!”
“I wish I could see that energy of that young mass of young men to put that energy into making this country really great,” Phillips said in an interview posted to social media.
This is not the first time Phillips has been ridiculed.
In 2015, a group of students from Eastern Michigan University having an "American Indian" theme party yelled racial epithets and threw a beer can at Phillips, WJBK reported.
About the Author