Teen smirking at Native American provokes outrage

Teen who smirks at Native American starts a whole controversy

William S.

Teen who smirks at Native American starts a whole controversy

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Around mid-January of this year, a group of boys from Covington Catholic High School went on a field trip to Washington D.C. There, they attended the Indigenous Peoples March at the Lincoln Memorial. Videos and pictures were taken at the event and one video went viral on the internet. Nick Sandmann, one of the boys from Covington Catholic, was shown smirking at a Native American. Nathan Phillips, the Native American in the video, was scared for his safety and that of others around him while the boys were there. He confronted the boys by banging the drum and doing a chant.


A few days after the event, both Nick Sandmann and Nathan Phillips were interviewed. Nick’s interview was the only one recorded on video. As he was explaining the reasons for his actions, he said that he wasn’t trying to make faces at Phillips. In the video, Sandmann is shown smiling for a brief moment. He supports this action by saying, “I did smile at one point because I wanted Mr. Phillips to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation.” Phillips has told the news why he was banging the drum and making loud chants. It began with a group who called themselves the Hebrew Israelites. They would shout out vulgar and racist comments out to the teens. When Phillips heard their words, he was scared that harm would come to the people around him. In order to stop the negativity, he banged his drum and did a chant to stop people’s focus on the hate. In the interview, he told that his chants were loud because he wanted to drown out the hateful language.


Besides Nick and Phillips, another person had experienced the event. Kaya Taitano, a student from the University of the District of Columbia, witnessed a few details that couldn’t be found from the video. Kaya said that some of the students were shouting “Build the wall” and “Trump 2020.” Those words weren’t audible in the video. She also describes the event as a circle and said the she didn’t feel safe in it. When she saw Nick confronting Phillips, she heard the students mocking him.


The controversy has gone to the point of death threats and even a response from President Trump. Trump claimed that the media is to blame. He also said that Sandmann and the students “have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be,” and were “treated unfairly.” A video shows another response from Trump that said that Nick was a “great young man” and Phillips was an “Indian savage” and “idiot.” On Tuesday, after the field trip, death threats were made towards the teens. Covington Catholic had to close on that day just because of that.


As this problem grows, there is much more to uncover. Nick did something that started a entire controversy. Although there are many different claims about what had happened, there isn’t enough information to find a conclusion.

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