The Wounded Knee Cemetery on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo: Jeremiah M. Murphy

Gallery for Native artists planned instead of 'Medal of Honor' museum

Plans for a Medal of Honor museum in South Dakota have been scrapped following controversy over ties to the Wounded Knee Massacre.

John L. Johnson will instead open a gallery for Native artists in the Rushmore Mall, The Rapid City Journal reports. He changed his mind after hearing complaints about his decision to honor the men who participated in the slaughter of 300 Lakota men, women, children and elders on December 29, 1890.

"They did make a point and just to avoid any more divisions in our society, to avoid any more controversy and to pay respect to those people, I have dropped the museum project," Johnson told the paper.

The site for the project has since gone offline after Native Sun News Today questioned plans for the museum. The paper noted that Johnson had told the Journal that the men who committed the massacre acted "heroically."

“We have parallel paths of history in America, the white version and the Indian version," Native Sun News Today owner Tim Giago said in his paper's story about the project. "Unfortunately most white journalists know and understand only the white perspective of history because they have never walked in the shoes of a Lakota.”

Altogether, 20 soldiers received the Medals of Honor for the atrocities at Wounded Knee. Lakota veteran O.J. Semans has asked President Donald Trump, the U.S. military, key members of Congress and all of the candidates for president to rescind the awards.

"The murderers of Wounded Knee committed no gallantry. They committed an atrocity that stains the honor of the United States Armed Services to this day," Semans wrote in a February 4 letter to Trump and other federal officials.

Read More on the Story
Man drops plan to open South Dakota Medal of Honor Museum (The Associated Press / The Rapid City Journal May 28, 2019)

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