In the wake of an investigative report issued by Greater Cincinnati Investigation, Inc., — the investigative company hired by the Covington Catholic Diocese to investigate the incident that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2019, between Covington Catholic high school students, Native American participants of the Indigenous People’s March, to include Nathan Phillips and Black Hebrew Israelites — Nathan Phillips has issued a public statement.
The statement came to Indian Country Today via email from Daniel Paul Nelson of the Lakota People’s Law Project.
The official statement is as follows:
In response to the "independent" investigative report issued today by Greater Cincinnati Investigation, Inc., retained by Dressman, Benzinger, Lavelle (DBL LAW) on behalf of the Covington Diocese and Covington Catholic High School, Indigenous Peoples March and Native rights activist Nathan Phillips, says:
“I stand by my original observation that the situation seemed potentially dangerous and that I felt a spiritual call to sing between the two groups as a peacemaker. I ask everybody to remember what we all saw—students performing a culturally-appropriated ‘school chant’ and the tomahawk chop just feet away from me on that fateful day. That this racially insensitive behavior is still widely seen in America in 2019 does not make it okay—and, from my perspective, it was disrespectful, racially charged and harmful. I remain hopeful that we, as a nation, can all learn a better way to treat one another from this incident.”
As previously reported, Lakota People's Law Project Lead Counsel and Indigenous Peoples March organizer Chase Iron Eyes said “It’s unsurprising to us that an investigative team hired by a law firm at the behest of the school and diocese would fail to hold the students accountable for their behavior that day—or to hold the parents and guardians accountable for what they enabled.”
"This is a time to reiterate Nathan’s call for prayer, peace with justice and forgiveness,” stated Iron Eyes.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling