Lawmakers Seek to Rescind Medals of Honor from Soldiers Who Carried Out Wounded Knee Massacre

The House of Representatives has made a motion to posthumously remove Medals of Honor to U.S. soldiers who were involved in the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in which an estimated 250 Native Americans, mostly women, and children, were killed.

Army Times reported that legislation was passed to restore the medals, the nation’s highest honor for valor. It was an amendment to the fiscal 2023 defense bill.

According to the report, similar efforts have been made in the past but were eventually abandoned during compromises between Senate and House versions of the bill.

For their actions in the massacre at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Dec. 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek, 20 soldiers of the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment received Medals of Honor.

The U.S. wanted to annex the Great Sioux Reservation. This was a violation of the 1868 Treaty of Laramie that stated that the tribe would settle in the Black Hills, then part of the Dakota Territory.

Wounded Knee was the scene of the death of more than 30 soldiers, not counting hundreds of Native Americans.

On Wounded Knee’s centenary in 1990, Congress apologized for the massacre but did not revoke the medals. In 1996, late GOP Sen. John McCain, then chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said the massacre did not warrant taking away the medals.