A Catholic high school in Kentucky is apologizing after videos surfaced of students dressed in the school’s garb confronting and mocking a group of Native Americans — including one man believed to be a Vietnam War veteran — in Washington, D.C.
Several clips of the encounter circulating on social media show a small group of Native American drummers, who were in Washington for the Indigenous People’s March, being surrounded by a much larger band of teenagers.
Most were young men who wore hats or shirts bearing Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Others wore clothing with references to the March for Life, an anti-abortion event convened on Friday (Jan. 19) that the students attended.
Some of the young men wore hoodies that bore the logo of Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Ky.
In one of the videos, the young men clap along to the drumbeat of a man whom Indian Country Today identified as Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam War veteran. But the moment quickly turns confrontational as the mass begins mocking the elderly man by shouting a faux Native American chant used by the Atlanta Braves and other sports teams.
The crowd then begins to laugh and shout as one young man, donning a Make America Great Again hat, stands in front of Phillips and stares, grinning.
As the crowd continues to heckle and chant, Phillips stares back and continues to drum, seemingly unfazed. But his companions appear to grow increasingly agitated as the crowd encircles them.
“You guys are acting like a mob!” one woman yells at the camera.
Covington Catholic officials did not respond to multiple requests from Religion News Service for comment.
They released a joint statement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington Saturday afternoon.
“We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C.,” the statement 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 most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement.”
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Source: Religion News Service