Who is Nathan Phillips?

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If America has confirmed anything about itself since the Lincoln Memorial incident between the Covington Catholic high school boys, the Native American drum enthusiast, and the Black Hebrew Israelite hate posse, it is this – that outrage and narrative are virtues, while facts and context are just obstacles.

This whole story was the media version of a microwaveable meal. It came pre-packaged, ready-made. You didn't even have to add water. The victim hierarchy is so perfectly arranged, it almost seems choreographed. At the very top of the hierarchy is Nathan Phillips, the 64-year-old Native American leader. At the very bottom of the hierarchy are the white, male, privileged, bratty, Catholic school kids from Kentucky. The "journalists" manning the desks over the weekend could've written this story with their outraged eyes closed, and most of them apparently did. Our frantic news cycle won't wait for context. So we get headline gems like this from Vox: "White students in MAGA gear crashed the Indigenous Peoples March and harassed participants."

For the handful of people out there who do still care about old-fashioned things like facts and context, this segment is for you. Who is Nathan Phillips, the personal-space drummer in this drama?

Phillips is a member of the Omaha tribe, born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. He says he was five-years-old when he was, "taken away from my family and put in foster care." He bounced around several homes and was finally raised by a white family, whom he says was abusive, until he was 17.

He started working construction jobs, then joined the Marines. Almost every media outlet describes Phillips as a Vietnam veteran. But one outlet, Indian Country Today, describes him as a "Vietnam-era veteran" which seems to imply he may have served, just not physically in Vietnam. This is an important distinction because Phillips has said how hard it was to be a veteran returning to the U.S. during the Vietnam era. He says, "People called me a baby killer and a hippie girl spit on me." Indian Country Today noted that this incident happened when Phillips was in uniform, but not when he was returning home from combat. We reached out to the journalist who wrote the story for clarification, and we are waiting to hear back.



Nathan Phillips is a liar youtu.be


For several years, Phillips has led an annual ceremony honoring Native American war veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

After he left the Marines, Phillips struggled with alcoholism and was "in and out of jail." In 1990, he met Shoshana Konstant, a former middle school teacher. She became his companion and they traveled around the U.S., protesting on behalf of American Indians being displaced from their homelands.

In 1994, the couple settled in Washington DC after their truck broke down and caught fire during a demonstration in front of the White House. While there, Phillips co-founded the Native Youth Alliance. The nonprofit group "works to ensure that traditional culture and spiritual ways continue for the coming generations." He had virtually no financial support for the organization. He worked odd jobs and construction when he could, but said his "personal dreams usually take precedence over the American dream."

In 1999 and again in 2000, he camped in a teepee by the Washington Monument for the entire month of November with his companion Shoshana, their toddler son, and baby daughter. He did it to "remind people that a lot of American Indians don't have too much to be thankful for." Officially, he did it to raise awareness for his Native Youth Alliance.

RELATED: MEDIA MALPRACTICE: The Covington Catholic teens would make Martin Luther King Jr. proud

In a profile written about him in 2000, the Omaha World Herald said, "Privately, another tribal leader said Phillips is regarded back in Nebraska as a well-intentioned brother struggling to cope with a troubled childhood. The leader said the Omaha Tribe generally avoids the type of activism Phillips prefers."

After Shoshana was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, Phillips moved the family to Ypsilanti, Michigan where she could get treatments at a local university. In 2012, a documentary short was made about Phillips and Shoshana called Between Earth and Sky. Three years later, the cancer took Shoshana's life.

While still living in Michigan in 2015, Phillips decided to go for an afternoon stroll one Saturday and he came across a group of "30 to 40" students from Eastern Michigan University having a Native American-themed party in their back yard. He says they wore body paint and feathers, and summoned him over to the fence. He says when he questioned their choice of activity, they said that they were honoring him. He replied, "No, you are not honoring me. That wasn't honoring. That was racist."

The students said, "Go back to the reservation, you blank Indian."

He says a student threw a full beer can at him and that it would've hit him in the head, but he backed up in time and it hit his chest.

Phillips says he called the police but by the time they got there, the party was deserted. At the time, Eastern Michigan University said it conducted an investigation, but no media outlets seemed to report on the university's conclusion. We reached out to EMU to find out if their investigation corroborated Phillips' accusations of verbal and physical assault. We are waiting to hear back from EMU.

Today, Phillips is an Omaha tribe elder and a "keeper of a sacred pipe." The sacred pipe is revered as a holy object, and smoking it

is used as a major way of communicating between humans and sacred beings. It's smoked in personal prayer and during collective rituals.

In 2016 and 2017, Phillips was on the front line (with his 17-year-old daughter) of the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline across Sioux lands in South Dakota.

Last Friday, Phillips was in Washington DC to participate in the inaugural Indigenous Peoples March. The March was organized as a continuation of the 2016-2017 Dakota Pipeline demonstrations. It is organized by the "Indigenous People's Movement," an international grassroots initiative aimed at increasing awareness of "voter suppression, divided families by walls and borders, an environmental holocaust, sex and human trafficking, and police/military brutality."

Phillips knew exactly what he was doing on Friday because he has been traveling the country, agitating for his cause for almost 30 years.

After telling The Washington Post that he was "mobbed" by the Covington students, Phillips changed his tune yesterday, saying he had approached the crowd to intervene because of racial tensions between the Covington students and the black Hebrew Israelites group. Phillips said the tension "was coming to a boiling point. I stepped in between to pray."

Phillips expounded further in the Detroit Free Press saying:

They [the Covington boys] witnessed these individuals [the Black Hebrew Israelites group] on their soapbox saying what they had to say. They didn't agree with it and got offended. They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals. I was there and I was witnessing all of this… as this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know?

You see something that is wrong and you're faced with that choice of right or wrong. There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey. These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that. It was ugly, what these kids were involved in. It was racism. It was hatred. It was scary. I mean, if you go back and look at the lynchings that was done (in America) and you'd see the faces on the people. The glee and the hatred in their faces, that's what these faces looked like.

The Black Israelites, they were saying some harsh things, but some of it was true, too. These young, white American kids who were being taught in their Catholic school, their doctrine, their truth, and when they found out there's more truth out there than what they're being taught, they were offended, they were insulted, they were scared, and that's how they responded. One thing that I was taught in my Marine Corps training is that a scared man will kill you. And that's what these boys were. They were scared.

On Sunday, he also told a reporter for Indian Country Today:

I'm angry with those instructors, the chaperones and tutors whose children's lives were in their hands. That was their job, that wasn't my job to do… they were getting paid to take care of those children to act and for them to be allowed to behave that way. It is in my mind a fire-able offense. They've aligned those children to take the wrong path and they have a bright future to live. You know, if that was my child, I would not be happy with the school officials right now to allow my child to behave that way. I don't care if my child is that way. When he's out in public, he'd better behave.

I'm still scared. I'm still feeling vulnerable. But I'm not gonna back down.

This Lincoln Memorial incident is complex, but the Nathan Phillips part is pretty simple. This wasn't a case of punk teenagers accosting a poor Native American veteran. Phillips knew exactly what he was doing on Friday because he has been traveling the country, agitating for his cause for almost 30 years. This is what he does. This is his identity. And these days, nothing stands in the way of personal identity – especially not some white kid in a MAGA hat.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.