FARGO — Shame on 9 of the 10 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota and the Dakotas for their responses on revoking the Medals of Honor awarded to 20 U.S. soldiers for their parts in the Wounded Knee Massacre.
Reporter Natasha Rausch of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead did an excellent job of contacting all 10 of them, and asking for their positions on a bill sponsored by Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., to rescind the medals. Only Betty McCollum, D-Minn., said she supported the bill, rightfully calling it “a stain on our American history.” Three of the nine said they were undecided or studying the bill, while the other six didn’t respond or comment. That’s pathetic. Wounded Knee was a horrifying slaughter of innocent people.
Here’s the background. For years, the U.S. government had unfairly seized the land of the Miniconjou Lakota nation, broken treaties with the nation, and allowed settlers to hunt their sizable bison herds to near extinction. On Dec. 29, 1890, members of the U.S. 7th Cavalry entered the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at Wounded Knee Creek, S.D. The Native Americans were ordered to give up their weapons. It’s unclear how the shooting started, but it soon became a bloodbath. About 300 Native Americans, mostly unarmed women and children, were shot dead.
From Wikipedia, here’s how one eyewitness survivor described what happened. “There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce… A mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing that its mother was dead was still nursing… The women as they were fleeing with their babies were killed together, shot right through… and after most all of them had been killed a cry was made that all those who were not killed or wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys… came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them there.”
Medals of Honor are awarded for heroism. This wasn’t heroism. This was mass murder. The medals should be revoked.
Speaking of atrocities, the vote by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., to not support the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 100 years ago, was inexcusable. Omar, a graduate of North Dakota State University, and one of the representatives who declined to comment about the Wounded Knee bill, simply voted “present.” The resolution overwhelmingly passed by a vote of 405-11. Turkey’s President Erdogan denies the genocide.
Omar said recognition of genocide, “should be done based on academic consensus.” Well, there is documented consensus. The Ottoman Empire, now modern-day Turkey, murdered about 1.5 million Armenians from 1914 to 1923. The Armenians were shot, burned, starved, gassed, tortured, and thrown overboard at sea.
None of this excuses state Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, for calling Omar a terrorist sympathizer. However, Omar’s efforts to portray herself as a human rights supporter are hypocritical.