Nathan Phillips (Activist) Biography, Age, Video And Military Career

Nathan Phillips Biography | Who is Activist Nathan Phillips

Nathan Phillips is a native American activist, Omaha tribal elder, a Vietnam Veteran and former director of the Native Youth Alliance. 

He is known for his support of Native American war veterans. He leads an annual ceremony in their honor at Arlington National Cemetery.

According to Indian Country Today Nathan Phillips is “keeper of a sacred pipe and holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans in the Arlington National Cemetery.”

He is also the director of Native Youth Alliance, a non-profit organisation founded in 1990.

Nathan Phillips Age

Nathan was born on 22nd February 1954 (69 years as of 2023)

Wife |Soshana

Philip was married to Shoshana who died in 2015 of bone marrow cancer


Nathan Phillips is a Vietnam Veteran and former director of the Native Youth Alliance. He has been involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest movement and has educated and explained the importance of protecting the waters on native lands though Facebook videos and talks.

He helped organize the 4-day ‘Water Protector prayer Walk.’

Philips served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. According to New York Times Philip is a former Director of the Native Youth Alliance, a group that works to ensure that traditional culture and spiritual ways are upheld for future generations of Native Americans, and that he leads an annual ceremony honoring Native American war veterans in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 2015 Nathan Phillips was in the news in Michigan when a group of students from Eastern Michigan University allegedly harassed him.

Nathan Phillips Convington Catholic

In January 2019 he participated in the Indigenous Peoples’ March in Washington, D.C. but was harassed by a group of high school students.

On 18th January 2019 the video recorded at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, USA showed Nathan Phillips being harassed by a group of fifty to sixty high school boys who had attended the coinciding annual March for Life.

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The amount of disrespect…. TO THIS DAY. #SMH #ipmdc19 #ipmdc #indigenousunited #indigenouspeoplesmarch #indigenouspeoplesmarch2019

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The students were allegedly from a private, all-male, Park Hills, Kentucky-based Covington Catholic High School (CovCath), who had traveled from Kentucky on a school trip to attend the anti-abortion March for Life.

The video was shared widely on social media and attracted “backlash” against the school and the students. After the video went viral CovCath’s communications director released a statement regretting that the incident took place.

On 19th January 2019 the student present at the incident stated that the video was skewed and they never chanted “build the wall” or used any racist language or gestures. They said that Nathan tried to provoke them.

Philips did a brief interview on Twitter after the incidence where he said: “While I was there singing, I heard them saying ‘Build that wall! Build that wall!’, you know… this is indigenous land! …We’re not supposed to have walls here, we never did—for millennium.

Before anybody else came here we never had walls.  We always took care of our elders, we took care of our children. We always provided for them, you know.

I wish I could see that energy of the young mass, the young men, put their energy into making this into a really great country.”

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#ipmdc #ipmdc19 #indigenousunited #indigenouspeoplesmarch #indigenouspeoplesmarch2019

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Deb Haaland, House Representative of New Mexico, after the incidence wrote “The students’ display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance is a signal of how common decency has decayed under this administration. Heartbreaking. This veteran put his life on the line for our country.”

Nathan Phillips and Nick Sandmann

Nick Sandmann is the Covington Catholic High School student who stood infront of only a foot or two from the face of Nathan Phillips.

Sandmann and his fellow classmates were in Washington for the March for Life anti-abortion rally while Nathan was present for the Indigenous Peoples March.

News spread that the students were disrespectful to Nathan to which Nick Sandmann during an interview has said he never disrespected Nathan and that he had the right to stand where he stood although he said he wishes they “could have avoided the whole thing.”

“My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him, I would like to talk to him. I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing. ”

Nathan Phillips Full Video

Military Career

Documentary – Nathan Phillips Between Earth and Sky

In 2013 Nathan Phillips was the subject of the award-winning documentary film Between Earth and Sky.

The documentary documents his life wuth his wife Shoshana as they travel back to his Omaha reservation after his wife was diagnosed with bone-marrow cancer (which she died of in 2014).

Nathan Phillips – ‘Make It Bun Dem’ Video

In 2012 Nathan Phillips and his son appeared and performs in the music video for “Make It Bun Dem”, a song by Skrillex and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.

In the music video Philips plays himself in that he’s a wise Native elder living in a poor neighborhood where authorities are trying to evict people. He also plays the drum in a scene. He is seen as a shaman preparing a boy, perhaps himself at a younger age, as a spirit warrior.