UPDATE 1/22/19 2:27pm:Nathan Phillips, who was participating in the Indigenous Peoples March when he was surrounded by jeering Covington Catholic High School students over the weekend said he is willing to meet with the students. From his statement:
"I have read the statement from Nick Sandmann, the student who stared at me for a long time. He did not apologize, and I believe there are intentional falsehoods in his testimony," Phillips continued. "But I have faith that human beings can use a moment like this to find a way to gain understanding from one another."
Phillips expressed appreciation for the statements from the school and the mayor of Covington that mockery and taunting are not representative of the compassion, respect, and other inclusive values they want to teach. "So, let's create space for the teaching of tolerance to happen," he said.
Phillips, in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples March and the Lakota People's Law Project, is also seeking a meeting with Vatican officials—ideally Pope Francis himself, who has apologized to American Indians for the "grave sins of colonialism"—to discuss what role the Church might be willing to play in reconciling the Catholic community worldwide with Indigenous people.
"We feel that there is a distinct lack of understanding and appreciation of Native peoples and traditions worldwide. It's time to address the indecency of culturally appropriating our ritual movements and songs for the enjoyment of non-Native peoples," said Phillips.
The story about an encounter between a group of high schoolers at a March for Life rally and Native Americans at an Indigenous People's March in Washington DC appears to be more complex than what was seen in a three-minute video and from news reports in the Washington Post, CNN, New York Times, and other major news media. After watching a much longer video that shows the lead-up and aftermath of the incident, it doesn't look like the high school students were harassing the Native Americans as was reported yesterday.
James Martin, a Jesuit priest, an editor at large at America Magazine has excellent insight into the complexities of this still-unfolding story, which he wrote in the form of a Twitter thread:
And while I don't agree with Reason all the time (I agree with their stance on civil liberties and disagree with their stance on unfettered free markets), this essay Jake Tapper retweeted is worth reading:
.@reason: "Video footage strongly contradicts Native American veteran Nathan Phillips' claim that Covington Catholic High School boys harassed him. The media got this one completely wrong," writes @robbysoave https://t.co/9Ki4iiTkQ9
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 20, 2019
I'll continue to update this post as new information emerges.