(Reuters) – A Catholic school in Kentucky condemned a gaggle of its students, lots of whom wore “Make America Great Again” hats, after they have been recorded harassing a Native American Vietnam veteran in a video that went viral on Saturday.
The students from personal, all-male Covington Catholic High School in northern Kentucky have been in Washington for an anti-abortion rally on Friday after they have been filmed surrounding Nathan Phillips and mocking the Native American’s singing and drumming.
One teen in explicit is seen standing in entrance of Phillips, staring into his face with a smile. Fellow students, many in clothes bearing President Donald Trump’s “MAGA” slogan, cheered him on and chanted, “build that wall, build that wall,” Phillips stated.
The footage was shared on-line by organizers of an indigenous peoples’ march that additionally passed off on Friday.
In a joint assertion, the excessive school and Diocese of Covington condemned the actions of the students “towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general.”
“The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion,” the assertion stated.
In a separate video uploaded to social media, the 64-year-old Phillips, an elder of Nebraska’s Omaha tribe, wiped away tears as he described the incident.
“I heard them saying ‘build that wall, build that wall’. These are indigenous lands, we’re not supposed to have walls,” he stated. “I wish I could see that energy of that young mass of young men, put that energy into making this country, really, really great, helping those that are hungry.”
Phillips holds an annual ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honor Native American veterans, in accordance with media studies.
Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo tribe, stated on Twitter that Phillips had risked his life for his nation, and that the students confirmed “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance”.
Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, a Democrat, stated the “appalling” footage had rightly impressed “a tidal wave of condemnation” and that his city was now being linked with “intolerance and ethnic intimidation” due to the boys’ actions.
“The videos being shared across the nation do NOT represent the core beliefs and values of this city,” he stated in an announcement.
Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic secretary of state for Kentucky, stated the youngsters weren’t solely guilty.
“I turn to the adults and administration that are charged with teaching them, and to others who are silently letting others promote this behavior,” she stated on Facebook.
Reporting By Andrew Hay; Editing by Daniel Wallis