Rescission of Medals of Honor

Rescission of Medals of Honor

Many visitors to the Wounded Knee Museum are appalled to learn from our exhibit of Medal of Honor certificates that the military awarded these medals to the perpetrators of the massacre.

In the history of the Medal of Honor many have been rescinded and in some cases re-awarded. Several groups have tried and encouraged rescission of the medals issued during and after the events in December 1890.



Declan Fennelly said...

I've been a student of the Native American stories since I’ve been a teenager. I don’t claim to be anywhere close to being an expert. However, I’ve read much about the trials, tragedies and massacres inflicted on many of your nations, with much sorrow.
I was born and bred in Ireland, and therefore I carry much of the same views and opinions of my ancestors, as you do. We too experienced the wrath of an imposing colonising power.
When I consider your call to have the medals rescinded, I reflect on it as an Irishman and as an objective observer. I am not convinced that your call is the right call, but let me be clear, I am not belittling it either. It’s hard not to be appalled by such a comment as mine when you are so close in ancestry to something so terrible, but let me explain.
This terrible event occurred in 1890. That's 121 years ago. It doesn’t lessen the seriousness of the event, but it does mean it happened in a different era. In a time when people held very different views than we do today. At the same time, people in New York, London and Dublin were dying of poverty-related illnesses. Occurring because governments, at that time, didn’t care.
The people who issued those medals, and the soldiers who received them, are all dead. Dead in body, spirit and ethos. The only people who could truly rescind the medals are those who issued them, and we know that isn't possible.
Let the medals stand for two reasons. Firstly, don't try to change the course of history. The medals were issued and there is nothing can be done to reverse the sentiment of that time. Secondly, if the medals remain as they are, historians for years to come will be able to have this conversation as we do. Let the shame of the medals remain undiminished.
If those medals ARE rescinded, will it be to right the wrong? What it will do is somehow force you, and your people, to bestow absolute forgiveness on the perpetrators. Would you be forgiven by your ancestors for that?

Anonymous said...

I'm a white American of Irish ancestry and I think that these medals should be revoked because they are an embarrassment to the "living document" known as the United States Constitution, and to the people who uphold its principles.

These citations for alleged valor will continue to be relevant in modern and future times, for at least as long as the Constitution is the law of the land. The massacre was a bungled operation which was ill-conceived from the beginning and the 20 Medals of Honor awarded were an egregious error. They cheapen the honor bestowed upon real heroes who protect & save lives in combat situations.

These medals should be revoked now because they set a bad example for modern civilization and continue to perpetuate considerable grief, in order to form a more perfect union.

Stefan S. said...

I find it shameful that soldiers at that time or whatever has been awarded these medals. you should lower front of each of the people belonging to the native nations to look for forgiveness and ask for hundreds of years of exploitation and plunder of murder.
how to wipe out only as a proud, beautiful almost folk?

Anonymous said...

These awards shame the Medal, the United States Army and the Lakota most of all. They are a collective smear upon the honor of all. The diminish the value of the Medal awarded to others for their legitimate sacrifices. Rescind them, and give the Lakota 20 Medals of Honor. Let them do whatever they will with these medals; if they wish to shame and deface them, let them do it, even as these awards shame and deface the sacred honor of the Lakota, the U.S. Army and the Medal.
If ever we are to restore the full honor of the Medal, we must take these awards back and let them be treated with the contempt they deserve, in full measure. May we never award such Medals again.

Anonymous said...

Calvin said...

Hello Steve ... We spoke last week again on the phone. It's Calvin.

I wanted to let you know where we have a current petition drive to rescind the illegitimate medals. We will be launching a new petition this week.

Calvin said...

In response to Declan Fennelly :

I am a direct lineal descendant of Chief Spotted Elk, who was the Minneconjou leader of the people killed at Wounded Knee. The soldiers wound up calling him Chief Bigfoot but this was a slightly derogatory name that unfortunately stuck after his death and memorialized in the Monument instead of his true name Unpan Gleska - Spotted Elk.

He was the first to be executed. My great great grandmother, his wife, died from her wounds two weeks later. My other grandfather Chief Flying Horse who was one of the bravest men there and whose bloody moccasins remain a part of a gruesome exhibit in a Massachusetts museum was completely forgotten about, as were many of the children, women and elders who were gunned down.

I don't expect you to understand our cause entirely as a student or as someone who was not born and 'bred' in my homeland but you can intellectualize murder all you want and never understand it. I know... these were my ancestors. In this country we pledge allegiance to the flag and for liberty and justice for all. Yet there is no justice for my people, 122 years later. Even though it is a National Historic Monument, it is sadly unkept except for the descendants who can make it there when they have a ride. The names on the memorial don't come near the number of people buried there and my grandfather's name is wrong. I want to see justice. My father fought for this country in the 11th Airborne. He jumped out of airplanes and into enemy territory during war time and he fought for my people and the other people in this country to have the right to justice.

At least 25 native American men have also received this Nation's Highest Honor - the rare and coveted Congressional Medal of Honor for their truly Heroic actions. Read about Woody Keeble sometime. There is a truly remarkable story. To have known murderers names on the same Honor Rolls means that that Medal is worthless. It means that Woody Keeble and thousands of other Heroes gave their LIVES for nothing. I'm not saying change the history. General Miles, who was the commanding General at the time of the massacre was later part of a governing board who rescinded 911 illegitimate Medals of Honor so there is no excuse to try to say we're changing history. We're saying ACKNOWLEDGE the true history, keep your promise for a proper memorial and apologize just like you did to the descendants of slaves. Per capita higher numbers of Native Americans have fought for this country in its history than any other ethnic group. Don't dishonor their service, some of whom paid the ultimate price with their lives. When you pledge allegiance to Liberty and Justice for all... include Native Americans, otherwise it is all just a big lie.

Dean Myrick said...

Please sign my petition at and help spread the word about it. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I vote for rescinding the medals. What was heroic and beyond the call of duty at Wounded Knee. Besides, 20+ medals for a single battle? That alone magnifies the crime 20 fold as there should be none for what they figured was going to be a turkey shoot.

Anonymous said...

You folks had better read Robert Utley's book, The Last Days of the Sioux Nation (1963/2004), page 230. Wounded Knee was no "massacre", it was a "Tragic accident of war that neither side intended...the warriors themselves upon one occasion poured a destructive fire into their own families." The total number killed was 153 of which 62 were women and children. Not 350 as you inaccurately report. You had better grow up and do your research more diligently
Ed Osborne

Michael Trautman said...

To those bad mouthing the Wounded Knee MOH recipients maybe you need educated on all sides. 1st sgt Jacob Trautman earned his MOM at Wounded Knee 12/29/1890, he was the 1st of 3 MOH recipients in my family and 1 of 2 who survived to receive it. We are the only family with 3 MOH recipients. Jacob Trautman was to retire but stayed on for the Wounded Knee campaign as he respected the plight of the South Indians. He did not engage in the killing of the woman and children and didn't agree with disarming the South it was his orders and he followed them. He had to take the lives of several South in hand to hand combat saving the lives of the 4 highest ranking officers on site. I myself just retired from the Army on 06/01/2013 after 21 years as a Ranger and Green Beret and understand the conflict of following orders versus political beliefs, but all orders must be obeyed unless morally objectionable.

Michael Trautman said...

Have the balls to identify yourself yellow belly coward.

Michael Trautman said...

Again a yellow belly coward won't identify himself an uneducated drunken mick.

Michael Trautman said...

Anonymous you shame men by being a no balls coward hiding behind a computer screen.

Michael Trautman said...

If your Anonymous you don't have the balls to proudly state your beliefs and identify yourself. Your opinion is that of a French like balless yellow belly coward. Identify yourself so I can defend my family one of which was Jacob Trautman who received the MOH in March, 1891 for actions on 12/29/1890 as a 1st sgt who was to retire but stayed on to complete the campaign and killed several Indian males between age 16 and 27 in hand to hand combat saving the 4 highest ranking officers on site. He is one of 3 MOH recipients in my family and 1 of 2 that lived to receive their MOH. My family has the most MOH,s in one family. I just retired 06/01/2013 after 21 years as an Army Ranger and Green Beret Operator.

Anonymous said...

Absolutly agree remind all these medals no awards for murder!!

Mr.Jeffrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr.Jeffrey said...

As a Native American of European descent,
("Everyone born in the Western Hemisphere is a Native American."
-Russell Means)
who has known he is a Human Being from a very early age 5 or 6 years old, a veteran of the USN 1977-1983.
Something deep in my heart is heard and felt when I hear the drum and even deeper upon when the singing begins as though I remember something tribal in my DNA comes alive, it's been that way my whole life, perhaps it's from my biological father and his ancestry never met the guy, perhaps it's some link prior to the inquisitions in Europe.
There was nothing heroic about the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry opening fire upon the band of Lakota people at Wounded Knee on December 29th, 1890, certainly not anything heroic about the incident or actions by any of the members of the U.S. Army.
It was not a battle it was a blatant act of mass murder, (largest to date mass murder in U.S. History) the continuance of genocide in the name of manifest destiny.
It is a natural right, the right to self defense.
In the same position I would do whatever to protect my family.
Mr. Trautman above is mistaken about lawful and unlawful orders, his ancestor is not deserving of a MOH for being part of an act of murder.

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