"I heard them saying 'build that wall, build that wall.' This is indigenous land, you're not supposed to have walls here".
Chase Iron Eyes, an attorney with the Lakota People Law Project, said the incident lasted about 10 minutes and ended when Phillips and other activists walked away.
Phillips, who was singing the American Indian Movement song of unity that serves as a ceremony to send the spirits home, said he noticed tensions beginning to escalate when the teens and other apparent participants from the nearby March for Life rally began taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd. Phillips attempted to defuse the situation by offering a song, "trying to get young people to listen".
"To have our elders who are closing out, you know, a attractive day - one that started kind of chilly and cold, but the sun came out and joined us and blessed us - to have them go through that was a particularly egregious ordeal", he said.
In a statement, Grimes said, "In spite of these horrific scenes, I refuse to shame and exclusively blame these children for this type of behavior".
"I wouldn't even wish ill will on those kids", he said.
The elder is Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder who is also a Vietnam Veteran and former director of the Native Youth Alliance. "We never did", he said. "We always took care of our elders, took care of our children".
"The behaviour shown in that video is just a snapshot of what indigenous people have faced and are continuing to face", Buffalo said. "Such behavior is not welcome at the March for Life and never will be".
In that role, he has encountered anti-Native American sentiment before: In 2015, Phillips was verbally attacked by a group of Eastern Michigan University students who were dressed as Native Americans during a theme party near the town of Ypsilanti, according to news reports. The students' display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance is a signal of how common decency has decayed under this administration.
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