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Nathan Phillips, an outspoken Native American with long-term ties to Ypsilanti, was the focus of a shameful act of harassment and intimidation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
The values of Ypsilanti are Pride, Diversity and Heritage. The treatment he received at the hands of young men in DC to attend a Pro-Life march are in stark contrast to those values. As Mayor of Ypsilanti, I condemn the actions of those youth in the strongest of terms.
Mr. Phillips has served our country as a Marine in the Vietnam war, and has worked during his life to uphold the values and lands of Native Americans in many ways and places. He should be held up as a model to our youth. Instead, these young men treated him with threats and harassment.
As a long time resident of our town, Nathan has spoken at protests, city council, public meetings and events. He has held Powwows in our parks, is a water protector who went to Standing Rock with his daughter, and has worked with the Native Youth Alliance locally. Sadly, he was also the target of an act of racist harassment locally as well. He has always been respectful and strong in how he manifests his values. He is a valuable member of our community and I am appalled at how he was treated by these young men.
In stark contrast to his harassers, Nathan’s response has been kind, prayerful, strong and in concert with his values and indigenous culture. He acted in the manner of a brave man in the face of threats and jeers, and he has continued that bravery in his statements and actions since then.
Ypsilanti and I are proud of Mr. Phillips for his bravery and actions.
Mayor, City of Ypsilanti