Congress Introduces Bill to Revoke Medals of Honor Given to US Soldiers
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Twenty service members from the 7th Cavalry Regiment received medals after the attack, which claimed the lives of at least 150 Native Americans, roughly two-thirds of whom were women and children. Only a small percentage of Lakota warriors had arms.
It is unclear who fired first. One version claims a deaf tribesman was reluctant to surrender his rifle, which went off as he and a U.S. soldier tussled over it.
Twenty-five U.S. Cavalry troops also died in the brief firefight. Another six later succumbed to their wounds.
Congressman Heck has said the bill's purpose is to elevate those awarded the Medal of Honor for extreme gallantry.
The Hill's Reid Wilson has more:
“This isn’t an Indian issue. This is an American issue,” said Oliver Semans, a member of the Sicangu Lakota Tribe who heads the Native American voting rights group Four Directions.
The group has asked President Trump to rescind the medals on his own. It has also asked 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to pledge to do so if they are elected. Several Native American groups, including tribal associations that cover territory in Iowa, will host a candidates forum in August in Sioux City.
Heck, the bill’s lead sponsor, said rescinding the awards would do more to honor those who have earned them for legitimate reasons. Only 23 service members have earned the Medal of Honor during the global war on terror, which has lasted for 18 years — just three more than the number of recipients from Wounded Knee, which may have lasted a matter of minutes.
“The Native Americans were outnumbered and outgunned. The U.S. soldiers had what constituted automatic weapons of the day, four of them as a matter of fact,” Heck told The Hill. “I think this would go a long way in helping there to be healing.”