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Medals of Honor for Genocide


At Indian Country Today, Simon Moya-Smith asks the provocative question of whether the 20 soldiers who received the Medal of Honor for their actions in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre should have them revoked. It’s hard to argue against the idea.

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.

Obviously the political backlash against revoking Medals of Honor would be immense. On the other hand, what else has this government done to even begin seriously dealing with the legacy of genocide?

….In comments, Denverite notes there is precedent for revoking the Medal of Honor.

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