Part lll: People are uneducated about Culture

Jasmina Singmouangthong, Print Managing Editor

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Nathan Phillips, a member of the Omaha tribe and Vietnam Veteran was singing and beating his drum among young Covington Catholic students. He was there for the Indigenous Peoples March. Beating his drum and chanting, he was a sign of peace, an effort to calm the tension between the students and the Hebrew Israelites.

“I don’t think he [Nathan Phillips] did anything wrong, he was just trying to calm everyone down,” said Shavativa Oliver, class of 2019. “It was the Covington Catholic students who were wrong. You can tell by their behavior and how they were acting throughout the situation.”

  People from his culture would understand why he was chanting, but the Covington Catholic students did not. They are uneducated about other cultures. They didn’t even seem like they cared or tried to understand Phillips’ intention.    

  “What they were doing wasn’t making America great,” said Phillips in a CNN interview with Sara Sidner. “The whole idea, the spirit of America, that wasn’t it. That wasn’t American spirit there that they were putting out there.”

  Watching some footage of the students, you can see some of them performing the Tomahawk Chop. I understand that people do that at sporting events, but in this situation, it was uncalled for. The Tomahawk Chop is an offensive and ignorant gesture. It is a stereotypical representation of native chanting. I believe the students knew what they were doing, especially with a Native American in front of them.

  Phillips was questioned if he was even stationed during the Vietnam War. I believe he was talking about during that period of time, this situation was comparable because of all the hatred. According to CNN, there was a correction that Phillips told CNN he was Vietnam-era veteran. He did serve in the military during the Vietnam War, but according to his service records, he was not deployed to Vietnam.