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Native Americans Offer to Educate Covington Catholic Staff and Students
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49947"><span class="small">Vivian Ho, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Friday, 25 January 2019 13:43

Ho writes: "Native American community leaders have offered to educate the staff and students at Covington Catholic high school after its students were filmed in an apparent confrontation with a Native American elder at the Lincoln Memorial last week."

Covington Catholic High School students taunt elderly Native American activist Nathan Phillips. (photo: Getty)
Covington Catholic High School students taunt elderly Native American activist Nathan Phillips. (photo: Getty)

Native Americans Offer to Educate Covington Catholic Staff and Students

By Vivian Ho, Guardian UK

25 January 19

Leaders sent letter to school seeking to ‘build understanding’ after students were filmed in apparent confrontation

ative American community leaders have offered to educate the staff and students at Covington Catholic high school after its students were filmed in an apparent confrontation with a Native American elder at the Lincoln Memorial last week.

“There is an opportunity here to learn from what happened,” Native American leaders with the the Awake Media Program said in a letter sent to the school in Park Hills, Kentucky, on Thursday.

The incident, which took place during an anti-abortion rally in Washington DC on Sunday, has laid bare stark divisions across the US. The footage drew immediate condemnation over the weekend.

Nick Sandmann, the student featured prominently in the footage, told NBC’s Today on Wednesday he “wasn’t smirking” or acting “disrespectful” against Native American activist Nathan Phillips. When additional footage of the incident became available, conservative media jumped into the fray, accusing liberal media of rushing to judgment.

“While we know that this is a divisive time, we are coming to you with a hope to build understanding,” wrote the group, which advocates for more Native stories and representation in media. “We would like to hold a workshop or a series of talks guided by our program leaders and community elders to help your school staff, administration and students learn about our lives, our beliefs and how to treat people of different backgrounds with thoughtfulness and care.”

The phone line for Covington Catholic high school was disconnected Thursday, and school officials did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

“It’s just a big mess,” Doug Good Feather, a leader leader of the Lakota Way Healing Center and the Awake Media Program, told the Guardian. “You got both sides striking out at each other.”

This is where education and understanding comes into play, said Good Feather, a descendent of Sitting Bull.

“Instead of yelling and screaming and pointing fingers, we have to teach and help people understand,” he said. “Instead of constantly fighting each other, we need to take responsibility and educate each other and evolve. And when we give our kids that kind of teaching to work together, we will evolve lightyears ahead. But if we don’t, we’re just going to be stuck.”

“It was disgusting, just seeing how bad it got,” said Anpa’o Locke, a 20-year-old fellow with the Awake Media Program. “But we’ve been resistant and resilient for the past 500 years. This is not new to us.”

Locke recalled feeling “a boiling” within her body when she first watched the video. But even with her anger, she understands that education is the first step.

When indigenous stories are ignored or erased and Native people are considered unfamiliar or foreign, they are allowed to be written off as “the other” in an us versus them news cycle, Locke said.

In making sure people know about Native culture and beliefs, “we don’t get swept up and people don’t walk over us anymore”, she said.

“It’s just about us standing up for us,” she said. “This is the last straw. We are here and you can’t forget us any more.”

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+20 # DongiC 2019-01-25 19:55
Let's see how well the Catholics practice their own religion and follow the teachings of Jesus. Sandmann's smirk was hardly an example of brotherly love.
-8 # Cowboy 45 2019-01-26 16:31
So the kid is hateful for standing there and then smirking when some loser bangs a drum in his face, but nobody says anything about the blacks who were spewing hateful racist things for a hour at a group of school kids.
+8 # draak 2019-01-26 03:02
"The phone line for Covington Catholic high school was disconnected Thursday"
Head in the sand.
+8 # Carol R 2019-01-26 06:00
Everyone in the United States needs to learn about Native American culture. Too often movies portray these people as blood thirsty ignorant vultures, ready to kill and cut off a white man's scalp. Children were taken away and put in 'correct' schools in an attempt to destroy their culture. Their voting rights were taken away because they didn't have more than P.O box numbers.
I am studying with a Cherokee shaman. He is right about many things that is not common knowledge. It would have been a crime to wipe out their civilization.
Jesus stands for loving and caring for others. He does not stand for sneering elitist bravado.
+1 # economagic 2019-01-26 08:14
I think it would help if everyone who was not present at the encounter (especially media both "liberal" and "conservative") would now cease explaining to each other what happened. I also think that before trying to "educate" each other, the students who were there would sit down with a group of a comparable number of people from the indigenous group, a couple of seasoned mediators, and a few unaffiliated witnesses, and try to peace together what actually happened, with their conclusions and remaining disagreements presented to the media.
-7 # Cowboy 45 2019-01-26 16:38
Oh OK, What I think would help is if the media would actually do their job and cover the story of the black racists that were there causing trouble, and not try to invent a story of racism about a group of kids just because they were Trump supporters.
0 # economagic 2019-01-27 21:11
I would be delighted if "The Media" would do their job honestly. But beware of genuine fake news (sic): The idea that any human entity--individ ual or organization--c an be completely objective, especially in today's polarized climate, is nonsense. Honest sources of information recognize this, understand their own biases, and state them honestly. Do you know any sources that do that? I don't, not even the sources whose biases I share.

Perhaps a panel of philosophers and political scientists who wave their biases like red flags could rate various news outlets, publishing the details of their internal debates and the score pro and con for each definable bias. :-)
-12 # Cowboy 45 2019-01-26 08:34
Maybe the staff at Covington should offer to educate the native American leaders about how disrespectful it is to bang a drum in someones face.
0 # treerapper 2019-01-28 08:26
Maybe you missed the full report on the actual event, included below. I would say it's much more than just a smirk on Sandman's face. It's obvious that the sining and drumming preceded the aggressive actions taken by the students. Clearly you have issues with people of color. Maybe you should check out your DNA. You might be surprised as to what you would find.

"The students, many of whom were wearing “Make America Great Again” caps, from private, all-male Covington Catholic High School in Park Hillswere in Washington for an anti-abortion rally on Friday when they were filmed surrounding Nathan Phillips and mocking the Native American’s singing and drumming.

One teen in particular is seen standing in front of Phillips, staring into his face with a smile. Fellow students, many in hats and sweatshirts with President Donald Trump’s “MAGA” slogan, cheered him on and chanted, “build the wall, build the wall”, Phillips said."
-2 # Cowboy 45 2019-01-28 10:29
Why would you say I have a problem with people of color? What aggressive actions by students? They were chanting their school chants to drown out the racists that were shouting at them. What is wrong with wearing hats that support Trump, you are very intolerant of other people. Apparently you are also not tolerant of Catholics or people that go to private schools. The left protest everything, why do you have a problem with these kids protesting abortion. They didn't surround Phillips, he walked up to them and banged a drum in the faces. Clearly you have issues with white Catholics and people who support the president.
+10 # elizabethblock 2019-01-26 08:43
Great idea. Maybe they can teach them some simple good manners, since obviously they haven't been taught them by their teachers or their parents.
As for Nick Sandmann, if he thinks he wasn't smirking, he should look at his picture.
+9 # Steve B 2019-01-26 10:16
One of the things that is not taught at Catholic high schools, nor public high schools for that matter is the Doctrine of Discovery, the Papal bull issued in the 1400s which gave "christian" conquistadors the right to exploit Native peoples, take their property and lands. This "law" by the way has been used by our US Supreme Court to abrogate treaties with Native peoples. You can read more about it here (