A viral video from a rally in Washington D.C. has been circulating the web, angering many. Present at the rally was a Native American man named Mr. Phillips who is a veteran of the Vietnam War and a member of Nebraska’s Omaha tribe. As Mr. Phillips attempted to play traditional music from his Native American culture, he was taunted by a group of teenage boys wearing MAGA hats. The boys are heard yelling “Build that wall,” and laughing in his face. Throughout it all, Mr. Phillips remains calm and collected and continues his performance, according to the Independent.
In an interview following the confrontation, Mr. Phillips broke down. He wiped away tears saying, “When I was there singing, I heard them saying ‘Build that wall, build that wall’. This is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here. We never did.” He said that he wishes the boys who taunted him could have used that energy towards bringing positivity to the nation.
American actor Chris Evans was among the many to share his response to the viral video. “This is appalling. The ignorance. The gall. The disrespect. It’s shameful. And sadly on brand. When something like this isn’t even surprising, it’s evidence to our place in the cycle of recreating our darker chapters. That Native American man showed incredible strength and dignity,” he tweeted Saturday.
The mother of the teen who harassed the Native American man is now speaking out in defense of her son. Instead of apologizing for her sons actions, she blames a group of “black Muslims” who were also present at the rally. “Did you hear the names of the people where (sic) calling these boys? It was shameful. Did you witness the black Muslims yelling profanities and video taping to get something to futher (sic) your narrative of hatred,” she said.
Witnesses of the encounter said that there were a group of black Muslims preaching at the rally, but that they were doing so peacefully. It was the group of MAGA hat wearing teens who approached them in what seemed to be an attempt to get a reaction out of them. One boy ripped his shirt off and beat his chest in front of the preachers, while others encouraged him and jeered.
Many feel that this blatant display of disrespect has arisen from the political landscape our nation now faces. This is just one example of what indigenous people have faced in the past and will continue to face due to hatred and intolerance.