Sunday, January 20, 2019

Nathan Phillips (transcribed by am) / From the perspective of Indian Country

(screen shot of Nathan Phillips from CNN YouTube channel newscast published January 19, 2019)

CNN: We are hearing from a Native American Elder, a Vietnam War veteran, speaking to CNN after a disturbing viral video shows a group of teens harassing and mocking him in the nation's capitol. Here is the video sparking outrage on social media right now.  Nathan Phillips was beating his drum and singing an American Indian protest song and this was on Friday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, when he saw a clash erupting between a group of teenage students and four African American young men preaching about the Bible and oppression. Well, Phillips says he immediately sensed danger.

Nathan Phillips: When I was there, and I was standing there and I seen that group of people in front of me and I seen the angry faces and all of that, I realized I had put myself in a really dangerous situation. You know, it was like here was a group of people who were angry at somebody else, and I put myself in front of that and all of a sudden, I am the one who all that anger and all that wanting to have the freedom to just rip me apart, you know, that was scary. And I'm a Vietnam-times veteran and I know that mentality of “there's enough of us, we can do this.”

CNN: Then Phillips describes the tense moments now being replayed over and over again online, when a young man got right in his face.

Nathan Phillips: When I started going forward and that mass of groups of people started separating and separating and moving aside to allow me to move out of the way to proceed, this young feller put himself in front of me and wouldn't move and so if I took another step, I would be putting my person into his presence, into his space, and I would have touched him, and that would have been the thing that the group of people would have needed to spring on me.

CNN: CNN's Sara Sidner asked Phillips what bothered him the most about Friday's confrontation. Here are his thoughts.

Nathan Phillips:  Fear. (am's note: there is a pause here before he continues).  Not for myself but fear for the next generation, fear where this country's going, fear for those youths, fear for their future, their souls, their spirits, what they're going to do to this country. What they were doing was not making America great, it was just tearing down the fabric. The whole idea, the spirit of America, that wasn't it, you know.


From the perspective of Indian Country:

Trying to see this situation in its immediate context -- not ignoring the historical context in all its complexity

1 comment:

Sabine said...

When I was in my final year in what you would call highschool in the US (the year before entering university), one of my courses concentrated on how language is used in political speeches and media. The year was 1976 and media then was radio, tv and print.

We analysed many speeches and slogans and reporting styles etc., identifying the tricks of the trade - selective use of language, secret terminology, gaps, pauses, repetitions, inconclusive quotes, smear camapigns (hidden and obvious) and so on - and while this is now in some back corner of my mind, I can still recognise the honesty in Mr Phillip's words.