Lawmakers seek to rescind Medals of Honor from soldiers who carried out Wounded Knee massacre

Estimated 250 Native Americans killed in 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in South Dakota

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Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have made a move to posthumously rescind Medals of Honor awarded to U.S. soldiers who participated in the infamous 1890 Wounded Knee massacre, where an estimated 250 Native Americans — mostly women and children — were killed.

Legislation to take back the medals — the nation’s highest award for valor — was passed last week as an amendment to the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill, Army Times reported.

While similar attempts have been made in the past, they were ultimately set aside during compromises between the House and Senate versions of the bill, according to the report.

Medals of Honor were given to 20 soldiers from the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment for their actions in the Dec. 29, 1890, massacre on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near Wounded Knee Creek. 

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The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that may be awarded by the U.S. government.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that may be awarded by the U.S. government. (U.S. Army)

The U.S. government was seeking to annex the Great Sioux Reservation, a breaking of the 1868 Treaty of Laramie, which stated the tribe would settle in the Black Hills in what was then the Dakota Territory.

More than 30 soldiers died at Wounded Knee, in addition to the hundreds of Native Americans killed.

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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.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano and the Associated Press contributed to this report.