Bill Seeks to Rescind Medals Awarded Following Wounded Knee Massacre

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jun 26, 2019

On Tuesday (June 25), Congressional Representatives Paul Cook (R-Calif.), Debra Haaland (D-N.M.) and Denny Heck (D-Wa.) introduced the bipartisan Remove the Stain Act, a bill that seeks to rescind Medals of Honor that were awarded to soldiers following 1890’s Wounded Knee Massacre.

“Even by the standards of the time, the actions taken by U.S. Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890, shock the conscience. More shocking still is that 20 Medals of Honor were awarded for the massacre,” reads a statement announcing the bill. “The Medal of Honor holds a sacred place in our national ethos. It is the highest decoration that can be awarded to a U.S. military service member, and it should not be used to legitimize the massacre of innocent civilians.”

The members of Congress were joined by members of the Rosebud Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux and Oglala Sioux tribes. Despite just being introduced this week, the bill has a long history. In 2001, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe passed a resolution requesting that Medals of Honor awarded for the massacre be taken back and the National Congress of American Indians cosigned and asked the federal government to rescind them. 

Watch a video of the bill introduction: