More than a dozen students who attend Eastern Michigan University allegedly cursed at an elderly Native American, Nathan Phillips, at an off-campus residence on April 12.
About 30 to 40 students were having a loud party in a Ypsilanti, Michigan, neighborhood when they reportedly waved over Phillips who was walking nearby (video below).
As Phillips got closer, he noticed how nearly half the students were wearing feathered headpieces and "redface."
Phillips told 7 Action News that the students said they were honoring Native Americans, but he told them it was racist and not honoring.
Phillips recalled, “And as soon as I said ‘racist,' it turned from honoring the Indians to, ‘Go back to the reservation, you F-ing Indian, get the F out of here.’"
Phillips also claims one of the students threw a beer can at him.
He called the police who broke up the party, but did not arrest anyone. Officers have reportedly identified three of the partygoers.
Michelle Lietz, vice president of the Native American Student Organization at EMU, told Native News Online, "My concern is our Native students do not feel safe now. We know that cultural appropriation very often leads violence to towards the culture that is being appropriated."
EMU spokesman Geoff Larcom told students and faculty in an emailed statement:
"Officials at Eastern Michigan University became aware on Sunday, April 12, 2015 that a party took place the previous afternoon at an off-campus location on Hamilton Street. It was reported that some of those in attendance at the party were EMU students dressed as Native Americans. It was further reported that the group had an altercation with a member of the community who, upon witnessing the students, expressed offense regarding their dress and behavior.
"Eastern Michigan University immediately initiated a full investigation of the incident. University officials have also met with EMU students who have expressed their strong concerns about the incident."