White students appeared to be mocking a Native American man at the Lincoln Memorial after the Indigenous Peoples March on January 18.
The students from Kentucky were participating in the March for Life, an anti-abortion rally. While at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, four Hebrew Israelites started yelling racial slurs toward the large group of teens. The men called the kids “crackers” and “school shooters.” The teens allegedly responded by chanting school cheers, but that is not confirmed.
That is when the Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, got between the two groups and started chanting and playing his drum. He said he was trying to decrease the tension between the groups. The video shows Mr. Philips and a boy, Nick Sandman, face to face. The teen was smiling and some viewed this as him mocking the elderly man .
There has been a fair amount of controversy that has been brought up over the video. Many are pointing at the white male teens mocking the Native American. Many are blaming the black men and the Native American man for instigating the conflict. However, the kids could have walked away. There are many different sides of the story and many people pointing fingers at others.
A sophomore male student at Sandia who wished to stay anonymous, stated “the media only showed the portion of [the video] that they wanted to], allowing people to create their own ideals about what happened. He also went on to say how the Native American man “should’ve chose to not get involved” when the man stated he was trying to diffuse the situation. The student went on to say that banging the drum in the teens face was not diffusing the situation, but many can argue that the teen and man stepped towards each other or that the teen could have walked away. However, another sophomore at Sandia, said that even though the teen did not say anything specifically to the Native American man “I felt like their intentions were still meant to be harmful” and that the “[teen’s] actions spoke louder than [his] words,” however, the teen later said that he did not intentionally try to mock the the Native American elder, nor did he want to start conflict. Native American student Hailey Duncan had her own opinion: “I think that was rude because [the teen had] no right to do that and for him to disrespect and elder like that is [messed] up.” It is obvious that there are varying sides and opinions on the story and even Sandia’s community is still split on the issue.