Opinion

Simon Moya-Smith: Revoke Wounded Knee massacre medals





Simon Moya-Smith calls on President Barack Obama to revoke the Medal of Honor for soldiers who participated in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre:
Since the Medal of Honor was created in 1861, it has been reserved for those military personnel who have exhibited selflessness, bravery and heroism on the filed of battle, but Wounded Knee was not a battle. It was a massacre, and to award 20 U.S. soldiers who acted in stark contrast to what the Medal of Honor stands for tarnishes its purpose and diminishes its value.

Native Americans continue to feel the pierce of what occurred that deplorable winter day. The story of the brutality and the inhumanity of what occurred is passed down to us from our elders because, quite unfortunately, these dark moments of American history are not shared in our schools as much as they should be.

To be sure, a great many of you who read this column are only learning of the Medals of Dishonor because I write of them. And that begs the question as to why. I’ll tell you: because it is very difficult for this country to fully recognize what it has done to its indigenous population. Well, it is time to start recognizing, and in so doing a time of healing (and learning) can begin.

Still, the fact that President Barack Obama would bestow the Medal of Honor to the 19 commendable veterans who were, at the time, discriminated against all the while refusing to revoke the 20 awarded to the soldiers who indiscriminately murdered hundreds of free Lakota, is hypocritical.

Get the Story:
Simon Moya-Smith: Rescind the Medals of Dishonor (Indian Country Today 3/18)