Energy

Anti-Keystone Pipeline Activists Are Fundraising Off Nathan Phillips’ Standoff With Covington

REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

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Chris White Tech Reporter

A group known for opposing Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline is using its association with Nathan Phillips to raise donations for future protests targeting the multi-billion-dollar oil pipeline.

Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska used her group’s connection to Phillips to raise money for her group, which opposes an extension to the Keystone pipeline that would move through parts of Nebraska. Phillips injected himself into a confrontation between teenage boys and a black supremacist group.

“In the face of racism and hatred on Saturday in our nation’s capitol (sic), veteran and Omaha Tribe elder Nathan Phillips exhibited courage and calm that has inspired a national conversation,” Kleeb wrote in a press statement Tuesday. She also implored her followers to “donate today to fund cultural” surveys of the pipeline.

Phillips, who claimed to be a “Vietnam-era veteran,” also attended events to oppose the pipeline in Washington, D.C., and Nebraska, according to the release. But it was his drumming and chanting during an incident between a slew of boys from Covington High School and black supremacists that grabbed headlines.

Members of the Cowboys and Indian Alliance, a group of ranchers, farmers and indigenous leaders, lift their signs in protest against the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Members of the Cowboys and Indian Alliance, a group of ranchers, farmers and indigenous leaders, lift their signs in protest against the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Phillips originally claimed the boys accosted him during a Jan. 18 protest after the March for Life in Washington, D.C. He said one student, who has since identified himself as high school junior Nick Sandmann, blocked his path from leaving. Media outlets accepted his depiction of events.

He later changed his story after a full, unedited, video was released showing him approaching the boys who were being harangued at the time by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites. Subsequent videos show that some of the people with Phillips were directing racially charged language at the students.

Recent reports also paint Phillips in a different light. He pleaded guilty to assault in 1974 and was fined $200, according to a Wednesday report from The Washington Examiner. Phillips was sentenced in 1973 to one-year probation for a related charge of alcohol possession by a minor.

Kleeb has not yet responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. (RELATED: Nathan Phillips Keeps Changing His Story, Still Keeps Getting It Wrong)

The anti-pipeline movement has wrestled with similar controversies in the past. In 2017, law enforcement officials in Texas arrested and fingerprinted activist Pedro Rabago Gutierrez, who was jailed in 1984 on rape charges. He would later go on to flee California and wind up in Texas, where he changed his name to “Peter Hefflin” and became a leading activist.

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