New video shows another side to confrontation between MAGA hat teens and Native American elder
Over this weekend, a video clip showing a group of teenage boys in MAGA hats surrounding a Native American elder went viral.
The boys, who were from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, had been in Washington DC in order to participate in the March for Life, but encountered Nathan Phillips, a Native American man, as he led a chant.
Up until this point, it has seemed that the boys - in particular, an individual named Nick Sandmann - were deliberately antagonising Phillips. However, another video has surfaced which shows that there is more to the story than initially believed.
The video, which is more than 1hr 46minutes long, shows that - prior to Phillips' arrival - the group were engaged in confrontation by the Hebrew Israelites (the group filming the clip).
The Hebrew Israelites, a group who believe that some black Americans are the descendants of an ancient Israelite tribe, and who have been associated with antisemitic and homophobic views, can be heard at the start of the video criticising the boys. "How you gonna have peace to this land ... when you got this madman in the White House?" one of them asks, before the camera pans around to show the large group of teens - many of whom are wearing 'Make America Great Again' hats and sweatshirts.
"When has America been great for our people? When has the America ever been great for the North American Indians?" the group's leader says later. "America ain't never been great. It only been great for you damn peckerwoods."
It was because of this group's chanting that the pupils began chanting back, Sandmann claims.
"A student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group," Sandmann said. "The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school."
These chants continued until the arrival of Phillips (which happens at about 1hr 12mins into the video), at which point one of the Hebrew Israelites says the Native elder "came to the rescue". When Phillips walks up to the group, however, they do not disperse, and instead surround him, chanting over him.
It was during this interaction that some other members of the crowd claim they heard students shouting, "build the wall" and "gone in 2020".
Sandmann's actions also came across as being quite aggressive, as he makes a deliberate effort to stand directly in front of Phillips during the procession, and smirks at him as he sings.
But the student says his attitude was influenced by the Hebrew Israelites.
"The protestors said hateful things. They called us 'racists,' 'bigots' 'white crackers,' 'f****ts,' and 'incest kids," Sandmann claimed. "They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would 'harvest his organs.' I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear."
Phillips did not see that, however, and felt very threatened by the boys.
"It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’" the elder told the Washington Post. "I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat."
He, too, says that he heard them repeating hurtful Trumpisms.
"I heard them saying, 'Build that wall, build that wall'. You know, this is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here — we never did for millennia, before anybody else came here."
Clearly, this situation is a lot more complex than it was first believed to be, but Sandmann's and Phillips' version of events seem wildly different to one another. Hopefully, more clarity will emerge soon.