Teens in MAGA hats taunt Native American elder in Washington DC

Teens in MAGA hats taunt Native American elder in Washington DC

Footage of a group of teenage boys — many wearing Make America Great Again caps — taunting a Native American man in Washington DC has caused outrage.

The teens, students of Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School, are seen mocking and intimidating Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips as he sings and drums on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The teens were taking part in an anti-abortion rally on Friday, while Mr Phillips was at an Indigenous Peoples March.

A number of Twitter users said the youths’ behaviour was “appalling” and their parents and school “should be ashamed”.

Kaya Taitano, a student at the University of the District of Columbia, participated in the march and shot the videos.

She told CNN that the teens were chanting things like “Build the wall” and “Trump 2020.”

“I did not feel safe in that circle,” she said.

Mr Phillips later told CNN he has “fear for those youth, fear for their future, fear for their souls, their spirit, what they’re going to do to this country”.

Ms Taitano said the whole incident started when the teens and four young African-Americans, who had been preaching about the Bible nearby, started yelling and calling each other names.

Ms Taitano said Mr Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe, started playing his drum and chanting what she was told was a healing prayer, to help defuse the situation.

Mr Phillips walked through the crowd, and Taitano said things were starting to calm down until he got to the grinning boy seen in the video.

“This one kid just refused to move and he just got in Nathan’s face,” she said.

Other boys circled around, she said. “They just surrounded him and they were mocking him and mocking the chant. We really didn’t know what was going to happen there.”

Mr Phillips, who holds an annual ceremony honouring Native American veterans in Arlington National Cemetery, told CNN he was “scared”.

“I was scared, I was worried for my young friends. I don’t want to cause harm to anyone,” he told CNN.

“I don’t like the word ‘hate.’ I don’t like even saying it, but it was hate unbridled. It was like a storm.”

The crowd kept growing as Phillips and the boy stood face-to-face, but Phillips kept on chanting and playing his drum.

“What the young man was doing was blocking my escape. I wanted to leave. I was thinking, ‘How do I get myself out of this? I want to get away from it,’” Mr Phillips said.

Ms Taitano said the standoff continued until a chaperone came and led the teens away for a photograph.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American women to be elected to Congress, tweeted that the students showed “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance”.

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