American Indian Nathan Phillips: American Hero

Jul 2016
This man has done more in his sixty-plus years than anyone who dares claim he's a fraud.

Who is Nathan Phillips? Years ago, Omaha Tribe member said spiritual journey was grounded in mall prayer vigil

"They want us to be happy Indians for them," he said. "They don't want to hear about the struggle."

That struggle, as Phillips explains it, involves centuries of religious, economic and cultural oppression of American Indians.

More personally, he says, it involves his own fight against alcoholism, a childhood floating through foster homes in Nebraska, and an early adulthood spent first in the Marine Corps and later being thrown in and out of jail.

Now 45, Phillips has been sober for 16 years. He met Shoshana Konstant, a former middle school teacher, in 1990. For several years, the couple bounced around the country agitating on behalf of American Indians being displaced from their homelands.

They settled in Washington, D.C., about six years ago, Phillips said, after their truck broke down and caught fire during a demonstration in front of the White House.

When asked about his reasons for living for 30 days on the Mall, Phillips doesn't offer an easy or quick answer.

"It's just everything," he says, sitting beside the fire. "We've got so many issues in Indian country."

After struggling for a few more minutes, Phillips expands his cause to include suffering children in Africa and the soldiers left missing in action in Vietnam.

"This is not just for the Indian people," he says. "It's for everybody."
Likes: Friday13
Jul 2016

How Liberals Are Getting the Nathan Phillips Story Wrong

Nathan Phillips is a hero, of that there is no doubt. And the privileged white boys, wearing red MAGA hats surrounding him, singing their private school fight songs, are an apt stand-in for the future, and past, and of American white supremacy. But the lessons to be learned from the incident‑that oppressed peoples are constantly exercising their own agency outside of the control of their oppressors, that non-violence is just one tactic amongst many, that veteran-status in the US military should not confer extra-special consideration (to the contrary), and that systemic, racist oppression is not limited to video clips of angry white boys-these lessons will almost certainly only be available to those willing to look deeper than the liberal, social-media pile-on.

From Gaza, to Ferguson, to Standing Rock (where Phillips also was an active participant), the correct path is always to stand in solidarity with the liberation struggles of oppressed peoples everywhere, learning from them, supporting wherever possible, and following their lead.


Apr 2010
Pittsburgh, PA
Dunno many american heros who were recon ranger refrig repairmen who went awol so much he was dripummed out as an e1
This is just a sad sad breakdown. I mean, all this has already been debunked. Simple factual arguments don't work on someone like this. We need someone trained in deprogramming.
Likes: rwb72