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MAGA Hat Wearing Students Who Taunted Native American Elder Provoked? Longer Video Reveals Start of Incident

A crowd of teenagers wearing MAGA hats and other Trump apparel have come under fire after a viral video showed them mocking a Native American elder at Friday's Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C.

But now, people are sharing a longer video of the incident, that some say proves two things: That the students from Covington Catholic High School, in Kentucky, were provoked and that the indigenous veteran Nathan Phillips placed himself in the situation.

When the story broke on Saturday, a short video was shared which showed a tense face-off between dozens of young teenagers wearing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” apparel and the Native American elder. In the viral clip, the group of teenagers can be seen surrounding and mocking Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran, as he peacefully chanted and beat a drum.

In an interview, posted to Twitter by user @ka_ya11, Phillips confirmed he heard the boys yelling “build that wall, build that wall” while he was chanting and drumming. “This is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here, we never did, for millennium before anybody else came here. We never had walls," he said. "We always took care of our elders, we took care of our children. We always provided for them. We taught them right from wrong.

Later, Phillips told the Detroit Free Press that a speech given by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites at the march sparked the incident. The elder explained that the Covington Catholic students watched the talks and visibly disagreed with what was being said, while the Black Hebrew Israelites group also started “saying some harsh things” at the group, with one member even spitting in the boys’ direction. "So I put myself in between that, between a rock and hard place," Phillips said. "They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals."

To diffuse the situation, the 64-year-old former marine walked past the Black Hebrew Israelites and to the students—who were sitting on the stairs—prompting the teenagers to redirect their hostility towards him instead. The Covington Catholic students can then be seen in the clip gathering around Phillips, before dispersing after five minutes.

In a joint statement on Saturday, the Diocese of Covington and the school condemned the “actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general.” “We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person,” they said, before revealing that the incident is currently being “investigated” and the students could face “expulsion” if deemed an “appropriate action.”

A Covington Catholic student defended the group's actions in a letter sent to Cincinnati's Local 12, where he claimed that a "group of adults led by Nathan Phillips... forced their way into the center of our group."

"He came to stand in front of one of my classmates who stood where he was, smiling and enjoying the experience," the letter read. "It was not until later that we discovered they would incriminate us as a publicity stunt."

The students were visiting Washington D.C. for the annual March for Life, an anti-abortion rally that took place at the same time as the Indigenous People’s March. 

Watch the longer video of the incident below:

Disclaimer: The 1 hour and 46 minute-long clip contains offensive language.

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