What Happened in the Incident Involving the Native American Elder and the Catholic Student?


Kaya Taitano

Sariah Williams, News Writer

Remember the viral video about a man singing and playing his drum while a kid was in front of him smiling? The video released presented three different groups including a group participating in the Indigenous People’s March, Black Herberal Israelites and Covington Catholic High School.

It portrays some people from the Herberal group making offensive comments towards the Catholic school, so in offense, the Catholic school started shouting their school chant while one student strips to his underwear screaming, leading his fellow students. All this commotion is occuring, then comes in Native American elder Nathan Phillips playing his drum and singing. He was walking up the stairs until a young student named Nick Sandmann from the Catholic school stands in his way, wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) shirt appearing to mockingly smile at Phillips.

After this video was released there were several people who were riled up over this because they found this video aggravating, offensive and immature. It was not right that these different groups of people were shouting offensive comments to the other groups. Everyone was behaving immaturely and for the most part acting on survival behavior. People ask for equal human rights, but if people desire equal human rights, then people need to stop judging and not shout offensive slurs to one another and expect that someone won’t say something back in defense.

When the heat was up after the video went viral, Covingtion Catholic High School sent out an apology saying, “We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic high school students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general,” a statement by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School 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 sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and those who support the pro-life movement.”

After this was said, President Trump invited Sandmann to lunch to congratulate his “efforts” to defuse the situation, but instead of defusing the situation this caused more tension among the communities involved. This was no help for defusing the situation. People want peace amongst themselves, yet, there’s no change. Instead of blaming, getting mad or saying insulting things, people need to try to understand where the other is coming from. If people can try this, this will be a good starting point in empathizing and will help prevent incidents such as this.