Days after President Donald Trump “joked” about a historic massacre of Native Americans, a group of high schoolers disrupted the Indigenous Peoples March, held in Washington, D.C., and went viral in the process.
In one video a young boy wearing a Make America Great Again cap stands close to Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam veteran and Native American elder of the Omaha tribe who is singing and drumming, a smile plastered on the high school student’s face. The camera pans to reveal numerous other young boys loudly cheering and chanting in the background over the marchers. Some of the MAGA gang are wearing clothing bearing insignia from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hill, KY.
The Indigenous Peoples March was held in an effort to bring awareness to “the injustices affecting Indigenous men, women, and children,” according to the Indigenous Peoples Movement. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that students from Covington had originally planned to attend the March for Life, an anti-abortion event held on the same day in D.C.
The harassment went viral, with one video garnering more than four million views. The videos have also prompted an intense backlash against the school. In a statement, the school and the Kentucky diocese jointly condemened the actions of the students, reports USA Today.
"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, January 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips," the statement read. "This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person. 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."
The International Indigenous Youth Council called for the boys to immediately be investigated by the American Civil Liberties Union. “This happened YESTERDAY in our nations [sic] CAPITAL! An elder was surrounded and mocked and attacked in a very violent and unacceptable way. Your children are absorbing this behavior. This is a HATE CRIME!”
This happened YESTERDAY in our nations CAPITAL! An elder was surrounded and mocked and attacked in a very violent and unacceptable way. Your children are absorbing this behavior. This is a HATE CRIME! These young men should be investigated by the @ACLU IMMEDIATELY! pic.twitter.com/ijlRWadIwb— Int’l Indigenous Youth Council (@IIYCfamily) January 19, 2019
This story was originally published on January 19, 2018; additional reporting was added.