Nick Sandmann
Nick Sandmann

Indigenous Peoples' March
attire. Some others have said the incident was taken out of context. Nick Sandmann, a student who is seen in the video standing closely facing Phillips

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Political demonstration on the National Mall in Washington (18 January 2019 ) Front of march procession

The first Indigenous Peoples' March was a political demonstration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on January 18, 2019. The event included speeches, prayers, songs, and dance, and was intended to draw attention to global injustices against indigenous peoples.[1] After 8:00 prayers outside the Building of Interior Affairs, the marchers proceeded along Constitution Avenue and ended at Henry Bacon Park, north of the Lincoln Memorial.[2] Organizers expected a crowd of about 10,000 people.[3]

Prior to the march procession starting, prayers were held on the steps of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

At the end of the formal program, an incident occurred between a group of about sixty students who had been attending the March for Life rally and Nathan Phillips and others involved in the Indigenous Peoples March. Videos of the students surrounding Phillips were shared widely on social media.[4] According to Phillips, he had walked into the crowd of boys in an attempt to defuse a conflict between them and a group of Black Hebrew Israelites.[5] The boys were were widely condemned for mocking and harassing Phillips, including by several lawmakers and by their school, and some people affiliated with the march described the boys as threatening due to their numbers, actions, and "Make America Great Again" attire. Some others have said the incident was taken out of context. Nick Sandmann, a student who is seen in the video standing closely facing Phillips, released a statement to refute the negative characterization of the incident.[6]

Contents Issues

Featured speakers highlighted social concerns such as "violence against Native women, the ravages of climate change and fossil fuel extraction, and the federal government shutdown."[2] Some carried signs that read "We will not be silenced."[7]


Organizers expected about 10,000 people would attend.[3]

Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, the first Native American women elected to Congress, spoke at the march.[2] Haaland is a representative for New Mexico and a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe; Davids is a representative for Kansas and a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.[3][8]

A delegation representing eight tribes from Oklahoma included Reverend David Wilson, a member of the Choctaw Nation and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference superintendent.[9] Wilson said that half of his group were young American Indian Methodists in the group ranging in age from 20 to 32 "who are more inclined to work on issues of social justice, more so than other generations.... Social justice is in their DNA".[9]


A group of around sixty boys from the private, all-male Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the pro-life March for Life rally that was being held the same day.[Notes 1] Shortly after the end of the Indigenous Peoples' March, a conflict began near the Lincoln Memorial between the students and a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, who had been shouting "racially combative comments" at the group of students and at Native Americans.[6][10] The students responded with school spirit chants.[11] Omaha elder, activist, and Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips entered the crowd of students, playing the ceremonial drum and chanting the AIM Song, a Native American intertribal song.[12] According to Phillips, the conflict was "reaching a boiling point" and he approached the students in an attempt to defuse it.[11] A video of the students closely surrounding and appearing to mock Phillips and his small group of supporters was widely shared through social media, including on Twitter and YouTube, with one video reaching two million viewers in two hours Saturday morning, January 19.[13][14][15] Some alleged that students had been chanting "build that wall" at the group of Native Americans.[16] Some others defended the students, saying that the video had been taken out of context.[6]


The video resulted in backlash against the school and the students. In a brief interview on Twitter, Phillips responded to the alleged chants of "build that wall" by saying "This is Indigenous Land you know, we're not supposed to have walls here. We never did for millenniums before anybody else came here we never had walls. We never had a prison. We always took care of our elders and took care of our children. We always provided for them, we taught them right from wrong. I wish I could see that energy in that young mass of young men down there. To put that energy into making this country really great — helping those that are hungry..."[16] Some others affiliated with the march described the group of boys as threatening due to their numbers, actions, and "Make America Great Again" attire.[6]

Shortly after the event took place, the Covington Catholic communications director released a statement expressing regret that it had happened.[14] In a joint statement on January 19, the Diocese of Covington and the Covington Catholic High School extended apologies to Phillips, condemned the students' behavior, and said that after they reviewed the situation, they would take "take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion."[17] Student Nick Sandmann, who was recorded standing closely facing Phillips, released a statement where he alleged misinformation and "outright lies" were being spread about the incident. According to him, the situation began when a group of African-American protesters directed insults at the students, and the students responded with school spirit chants. Sandmann said that he was confused when Phillips and other Native Americans subsequently approached him and the other students, and tried to remain as calm as possible to avoid trouble.[11][18]

According to a CBC News report, Ruth Buffalo, a North Dakota Representative and member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation,[19] said the students' disrespect of what was meant to have been a "celebration of all cultures" saddened her.[20] She added, "The behaviour shown in that video is just a snapshot of what Indigenous people have faced and are continuing to face."[20] Buffalo suggested "some kind of meeting with the students to provide education on issues facing Native Americans."[20] House Representative Haaland wrote, "The students' display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance is a signal of how common decency has decayed under this administration. Heartbreaking."[13] Alison Lundergan Grimes, Secretary of State of Kentucky, described the scene as "horrific" and said the students' actions did not reflect Kentucky's values. She wrote, "I refuse to shame these children. Instead I turn to the adults that are teaching them and those that are silently letting others promote this behavior. This is not the Kentucky I know and love. We can do better and it starts with better leadership."[21] Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie wrote that after watching videos from four different cameras he believed the media had misrepresented the incident and that "In the context of everything that was going on (which the media hasn’t shown) the parents and mentors of these boys should be proud, not ashamed, of their kids’ behavior."[22]

Media coverage

The Washington Post described the Indigenous Peoples' March as "meaningful"[23] and an example of how Native Americans will not be silenced. The article drew attention to Donald Trump's joking about the Wounded Knee Massacre to mock the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren.[24][Notes 2][25] The Post also wrote in a separate article that the "tense encounter in Washington prompted outrage".[4]

  1. ^ The March For Life also had a permit for a First Amendment demonstrations on the National Mall on that day. According to The Cut, CovCath sends an annual delegation of its students to attend the anti-abortion March For Life in Washington.
  2. ^ Warren has often been criticized for her claim of Native American ancestry. See Beinart's article in The Atlantic.
  1. ^ Massimo, Rick (January 16, 2019). "The Indigenous People's March: What you need to know". WTOP. Retrieved January 19, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ a b c Braine, Theresa (January 18, 2019). "Indigenous People's March highlights environmental decline, violence against Native women, amid optimism". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Cai, Kenrick (January 17, 2019). "Native American couple to speak at indigenous people's march". The Herald Sun. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Olivo, Antonio; Wootson Jr, Cleve R.; Heim, Joe (January 19, 2019). "'It was getting ugly': Native American drummer on the MAGA-hat wearing teens who surrounded him". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  5. ^ Politi, Daniel (January 20, 2019). "Native American Elder Says He Approached MAGA-Clad Teens to Defuse Argument With Black Protesters". Slate Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Mervosh, Sarah; Rueb, Emily S. (January 20, 2019). "Fuller Picture Emerges of Viral Video Between Native American Man and Catholic Students". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Ryan, Lisa (January 18, 2019). "Mob of MAGA Hat-Wearing Teen Boys Caught on Video Harassing Native Elder". The Cut. Retrieved January 19, 2019. The Cut quoted an Instagram post, "As we tried to move through the crowd, they closed in tighter around us, and wouldn’t allow anyone to pass. It was obvious that they wanted any excuse for the day to turn violent. They repeatedly ‘bumped’ into us, trying to agitate people into confrontation. But instead, the very few of us left stood quietly, trying to remain calm. I was seething with anger and rage and disappointment. I was so confused about why these boys would go out of their way to harass such a small, vulnerable group."
  8. ^ Hignett, Katherine (November 7, 2018). "Who is Sharice Davids? Kansas Democrat becomes first openly LGBT Native American woman elected to House". Newsweek. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Hinton, Carla (January 19, 2019). "Oklahoma Methodists participate in Indigenous People's March". News OK. Oklahoma City. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  10. ^ Mervosh, Sarah (January 19, 2019). "Boys in 'Make America Great Again' Hats Mob Native Elder at Indigenous Peoples March". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Alex Johnson (January 21, 2019) Young man in D.C. march video denounces 'outright lies' about him
  12. ^ Schilling, Vincent (January 19, 2019). "Outrage as non-Native youth wearing #MAGA hats taunt and disrespect Native elder". Indian Country Today. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Haaland condemns students' behavior toward Native elder at Indigenous Peoples March". The Hill. January 18, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Londberg, Max (January 19, 2019). "School faces backlash after incident at Indigenous Peoples March". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  15. ^ "Local high school 'looking into' incident at march in D.C." WCPO. January 19, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Gallucci, Nicole (January 18, 2019). "Teens in MAGA hats sparked outrage after crashing the Indigenous Peoples March". Mashable. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  17. ^ "'Blatant racism': Ky. high school faces backlash after video shows students surrounding indigenous marchers". USA Today. January 18, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2019. 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. 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.
  18. ^ Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School junior, regarding incident at the Lincoln Memorial CNN. January 21, 2019
  19. ^ Astor, Maggie. "Meet the Native American Woman Who Beat the Sponsor of North Dakota's ID Law". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  20. ^ a b c "U.S. diocese investigating after students mock Indigenous demonstrator". CBC News. January 18, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  21. ^ Martinez, Gina (January 19, 2019). "Kentucky Teens Wearing 'MAGA' Hats Taunt Indigenous Peoples March Participants in Viral Video". Time. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  22. ^ Emily Birnbaum (January 20, 2019) Massie claims media misrepresented Covington Catholic incident The Hill
  23. ^ "A meaningful march days after Trump joked about a Native American massacre". The Washington Post. January 18, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  24. ^ "Trump's Use of Wounded Knee to Mock Elizabeth Warren Angers Native Americans - The New York Times". January 14, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  25. ^ Beinart, Peter (January 2, 2019). "There's a Reason Many Voters Have Negative Views of Warren—But the Press Won't Tell You Why". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 3, 2019. The better explanation for why Warren attracts disproportionate conservative criticism, and has disproportionately high disapproval ratings, has nothing to do with her progressive economic views or her dalliance with DNA testing. It's that she's a woman.

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Nick Sandmann

Nick Sandmann

Nick Sandmann

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