Will soldiers awarded Medals of Honor for actions at Wounded Knee keep them?

Julia LeDoux
June 30, 2020 - 12:49 pm
Wounded Knee

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An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act by Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren that would revoke Medals of Honor awarded to 7th Calvary Regiment soldiers for their actions during what is known as the Wounded Knee Massacre is expected to be decided on this week

The battle was dubbed a massacre in 1990 when the 101st Congress “expressed its deep regret on behalf of the United States” for the “terrible tragedy.”  Currently, 20 service members still hold the nation’s highest military honor for “gallantry beyond the call of duty” for their actions at Wounded Knee.

It is estimated that around 300 members of the Lakota tribe were killed at the Pine River Reservation in South Dakota during the battle. Many of those were women and children. 

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"The horrifying acts of violence against hundreds of Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee should be condemned, not celebrated with Medals of Honor," Warren said in a statement in November.

The effort to revoke the medals is backed by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the National Congress of American Indians as well as other groups.

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Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribal Chairman Charles R. Vig called the proposed legislation an important step in correcting the country’s past wrongdoings in a statement that supports the bill. 

"It is shameful to honor soldiers for massacring defenseless men, women and children," Vig said.

The amendment is similar to the "Remove the Stain Act" introduced in the House and Senate last November. The Senate is expected to vote on the NDAA before the July 4 holiday.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.

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