Wounded Knee Massacre: Remove the Medals Call to Action

Lakota Law

On December 29, 1890, the 7th Cavalry of the United States committed an unconscionable act of genocide, killing nearly 300 Lakota women, children, and men at Cankpe’ Opi Wakpa, or Wounded Knee Creek. That number included 38 Hunkpapa and a larger number led by Lakota Chief Spotted Elk of the Mnicoujou band. Most of our people murdered that day were unarmed. Then, for taking part in the Wounded Knee Massacre, 20 U.S. soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medals of Honor are meant to signify gallantry beyond the call of duty, clearly distinguishable from lesser forms of bravery. The soldiers at Wounded Knee did not live up to this standard. Rather, they slaughtered innocent Native families in cold blood, and it’s long past time to rescind their awards. Please take decisive action today. Tell your Senators and Congressperson to pass the Remove the Stain Act and rescind all Medals of Honor awarded for the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Click the pic and tell your reps to pass the Remove the Stain Act today.

Native People and the U.S. government both understand — to very different degrees — the gravity of what happened at Wounded Knee. In 1990, on the centennial of the massacre, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a resolution expressing their “deep regret.” That gesture, of course, is far from adequate. In 2001, the National Congress of American Indians passed two resolutions demanding that the federal government rescind all Medals of Honor awarded for Wounded Knee. That same year, the Cheyenne River Nation, where I make my home, passed Tribal Council Resolution No. 132–01, asking for the same. Other organizations, such as Four Directions, have also taken up and amplified this call.

This is not ancient history in Lakota Country. The massacre’s memorial stands in stark relief against the plains and low hills of Pine Ridge — the location of Wounded Knee — every day. And each year in December, we honor our ancestors’ trek to Wounded Knee with a ride on horseback through the bitter cold, retracing the trail they left in their final moments on this earth. It’s our way of remembering and honoring the sacrifice they never should have had to make. Many people carry on this tradition and keep it alive, riding all the way from the homelands of Sitting Bull (Standing Rock) through Cheyenne River to the site of the massacre. Several organizations — such as my friends at the Horse Spirit Society — come together to provide horses, tack, feed, and other essentials for participants. 

Our people dedicate their limited resources for this cause, asking nothing in return but that we remember those who were lost. So today, as we approach the anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre, I ask you to learn more about how we keep our ancestors’ memories alive. And please, tell your senators and House rep to pass the Remove the Stain Act. While nothing we can do will bring them back, in this way we can properly honor our relatives.

Wopila tanka — thank you for taking action!
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Note: I no longer participate in virtual worlds. I did create a virtual memorial and here is the link to an interview I had done about it. https://virtualoutworlding.blogspot.com/2018/02/2018-edu-massacre-at-wounded-knee.html

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