Nathan Phillips and Nick Sandmann interviews on NBC’s TODAY show

Screen capture interviews NBC NEWS / NBC’S TODAY

Vincent Schilling

Sandmann: 'I wish I would've walked away' Phillips: ‘I still have that forgiveness in my heart for those students.'

Extracts of both interviews courtesy NBC NEWS / NBC’S TODAY

The TODAY show has now posted both sides of the story regarding the incident at the Lincoln Memorial last Friday in which Native American veteran Nathan Phillips sang a drum song face to face with Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann.

The interviews fall on the tails of a social media explosion in which great divisions have arisen between supporters for the Covington Catholic High School teens and Nick Sandmann and supporters for Nathan Phillips.

On Wednesday, TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie spoke with Nick Sandmann in his first television interview since the incident in Washington D.C.

Sandmann told TODAY’S Guthrie, “As far as standing there, I had every right to do so … My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I'd like to talk to him,” he said during the interview. “I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could've walked away and avoided the whole thing. But I can't say that I'm sorry for listening to him and standing there.”

“In hindsight, I wish we had just found another spot to wait for our buses. But at the time, being positive seemed better than letting them slander us with all of these things," said Sandmann.

On Thursday morning, Savannah Guthrie then spoke with Nathan Phillips. In the interview on TODAY, Phillips said he was angry, but felt in better spirits after a prayer ceremony. He also said he wasn’t able to sit through the interview by Nick Sandmann and felt the interview had been coached.

Of the interview, Phillips remarked, "Insincerity, lack of responsibility. Those are the words I came up with," but that he had “woke up with this forgiving heart. I forgive him."

Phillips also stated he placed fault on the chaperones but "forgiveness even goes to those chaperones, those teachers." He also stated he had seen a video of ‘build that wall.’ Phillips also stated, “he had never stepped foot in South Vietnam.”

Social media has been critical of Savannah Guthrie and the TODAY show for hosting the interviews in both cases calling out Sandmann and Phillips in a negative way.

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling

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Comments (17)
No. 1-7

The sick part is so many people trying to insert some heroism narrative into military service.

People join the service either a) because they can't find a job, or b) because they are very stupid and thing that killing foreigners in their own lands is good, or c) because they didn't want to go to jail for draft evasion.

Nothing heroic in any of those.

Mr Phillips probably has 'low self esteem' and leans on his Vietnam era military job the same way some bald people wear toupees or comb their hair to cover the bald spot.

Natives need to stop surrendering to the lies about 'glorious military service' and 'the liberty of voting for democracy' and all that other happy horseshit.

The Americas are Native lands, Native country, occupied, terrorized by outsiders.

Natives probably would have invaded Europe if things had been a little different, but things happened the way they happened. Time to fix the mistakes made by colonizing foreigners and restore the tribal authorities. A confederation of real tribes managing the land is better than a mafia of outsiders milking it.

Mr Phillips should be proud he outsmarted the occupation and avoided killing innocent people on behalf of the United States.

David Odell
David Odell

I remember a story in Rochester NY, when a group of youth, about the 10 to 12 year old range, were caught on video disrespecting and name calling, an older white woman on the school bus. The gofundme received over 200,000 and she was given a trip to Disneyland , and nobody defended the children. But here we have MAGA hats, Catholicism , PR firms, and white priviledge on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and somehow, the result is somewhat different. And my experience in this, is as a white man, defending Phillips, is to be accused of hate, falling victim to fake news, being a commie, heathen, pagan, liar, and just about everything else. Meanwhile, the church is under investigation by a dozen states for Rico violations, child sex abuse, and the MAGA hats are a racist brand. The President is under investigation for just about everything the law books contain, and nearly a dozen arrested so far. The credibility for the children evaporates, when I see the moment Sandmann finally moves, and Phillips continues on his way, without skipping a beat, just after the chaperone disavows her responsibility on camera,... This site and NBC did fair coverage.


You know i hear lots of people talk about Freedom, but there can be no freedom when we are under systems of control because the two things don't go together. You can't be free if we are all controlled is what i'm saying, and we are all controlled by the systems in place. I also agree there is no honor or valor in going to war and killing innocent people who have done nothing to us, nor do they deserve such horror inflicted upon them. The Vietnam war was a disaster, so many innocent lives lost on both sides and for what? I do understand the Vets that were forced to go to Vietnam and that is a terrible tragedy for sure. I will not ever be okay with it, and have told my boys do not ever join the military and they haven't. I don't want them to have innocent people's blood on their hands, because when we die i think we have to be accountable for our actions in this life, and in my opinion there are worse things than death. Yet i guess it is okay to try and defend ourselves if we get attacked, just like any other living thing on the planet if threatened will try and defend itself. But we must realize these fake wars on terror that are being inflicted on innocent people right now are all for the ptb's benefit and not for the people. They are fought for resources and profiteering and overthrowing democratically elected govt's in the mideast, so they can put their own puppets in their place. But anyway that's just me, and i respect what other people who probably feel differently to myself, and that is their business. We are all at different levels of learning the way of spiritual things.


how did he outsmart the occupation? I am sorry, but it isn't these kids' fault what happened hundreds of years ago. And they live in Kentucky. NEVER 'YOUR' land. Our ancestors, the Irish and Scotch Irish, are 'victims' of British colonialism and brutality. Sorry about that. Our ancestors came here and settled in Kentucky. None of YOUR people wanted to live here. Our ancestors were subjected to brutality from YOUR people. I understand their point, we were invading and multiplying and we were seen as a threat. Which we clearly were. But that is in the past and we cannot do anything about what happened THEN except know. Do you really think it is realistic to demand the return of all American lands? Why don't you focus on something more realistic like winning people over to your cause who actually might be able to do something about it. Like Catholics. Like white male Catholic School kids who are taught to live a life of mission while also being taught excellently in the Ignation method. Who go off to college and for the most part become people of influence. Same goes for CAtholic school girls. MAYBE...just MAYBE....if you reached out to these kids WITHOUT the hate, you could force an alliance. Just a thought. Also, they wore the MAGA hats because President Trump has been the most PRO-LIFE president EVER. And these kids march for the lives of not just white people, but even more so for people of color, because they are preyed upon by the abortion business at a much higher rate than whites. Margaret Sanger HATED all people of color - and the Irish poor. People of color need to unite with other pro-life supporters to protect the lives of the most vulnerable - babies of color. Good luck.