On March 26, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Congressman Kaiali’i Kahele (D-Hawaii) reintroduced the Remove the Stain Act. The bill seeks to revoke the Congressional Medal of Honor from the soldiers who perpetrated the Wounded Knee massacre on December 29, 1890. A similar bill in support of the revocation passed the South Dakota State Legislature this session.
U.S. veteran, Eagle Butte resident and Cheyenne River elder, Mrs. Marcella Rose LeBeau/Pretty Rainbow Woman (Oohenupa), 101, wrote in support of the move.
Dear members of the 117th Congress of the United States, Honorable members of the United States Senate and Honorable members of the United States House of Representatives.
I am seeking your support for SB107 Remove the Stain Act to revoke/remove the medals of honor that were awarded to the 7th Cavalry soldiers for bravery, for the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890.
After the killing of Sitting Bull on the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, Chief Spotted Elk at Cherry Creek, South Dakota decided that they should go to Chief Red Cloud’s Camp at Pine Ridge for refuge. They were met at Wounded Knee creek by the 7th Cavalry soldiers. Chief Spotted Elk had ordered that a white flag be flown. He was ill and suffering from pneumonia.
They were unarmed by the 7th Cavalry soldiers. It was reported that the 7th Cavalry soldiers had been drinking the evening before the massacre. They set up their Hotchkiss guns and massacred innocent unarmed men, women, and children, including Chief Spotted Elk who was lying helpless suffering from pneumonia. Some believed that the 7th Cavalry soldiers were taking revenge for the defeat of the 7th Cavalry at the 1876 Battle of the Little BigHorn, also known as the Battle of Greasy Grass.
My great grandfather, Rain in the Face, defended themselves against Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the battle of the Little BigHorn/Greasy Grass in 1876. They won that battle and they won that flag. It has been said that the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee took revenge against unarmed innocent men, women and children for the defeat of the Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Little BigHorn also called Greasy Grass.
In my opinion there is a pervasive sadness that exists on our reservation, the Cheyenne River reservation in South Dakota. There has never been closure to the horrific unprovoked massacre
at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation, where unarmed men, women and children were massacred under a white flag of truce with their leader Spotted Elk who was lying there helpless suffering from pneumonia.
The descendants and relatives never forget, for many years horseback riders congregate at Sitting Bull’s camp on the Sanding Rock reservation to begin their prayerful journey to Wounded Knee, to arrive on December 29th to remember the Wounded Knee massacre.
The descendants and relatives never forget. In about 1986 the Bigfoot horseback riders began the memorial ride to Wounded Knee each year to congregate at the Wounded Knee gravesite in prayer and remembrance. Following the Bigfoot riders, the new generation horseback riders took over the yearly memorial ride, also ending at the Wounded Knee gravesite for prayers and rememberance. During the summer the Motorcycle Run makes the journey from Standing Rock to Wounded Knee in prayer and remembrance of the Wounded Knee massacre. Some of my family have participated. More lately runners have made the run from Wounded Knee back to Spotted Elk’s starting point where he began his fateful journey.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council has referred numerous resolutions to Washington D.C. to revoke the medals of honor and it happened while I was serving on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe council and to no avail.
I had the honor and privilege to serve as a nurse in World War II in a 1000 bed tent hospital in Liege Belgium. December 16, 1944 the German soldiers broke through the American lines. We could hear the German tanks going through Liege hour after hour and we could feel the concussion of the Ack Ack on the ground, the German flares lighting up the night sky like day, we were told they were looking for troop movements. We had buzz bombs both night and day. After the war I saw a map of 3000 buzz bombs that landed in the Leige area. Once a buzz bomb hit our hospital where the military police had worked the night shift and were preparing for bed, when the buzz bomb hit their tent area, killing 25 of our military police. I saw soldiers- my patients who went through my ward who are deserving of a medal of honor. One a native American soldier Eugene Roubideau from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota who was wounded in World War II. I was asked to visit him on another ward by his nurse. After the war it took me 40 years to find him. We honored him in Eagle Butte, South Dakota and learned that he was a role model to the other patients at a VA hospital. Again it was my honor to serve as a nurse in World War II.
In closing, I look to our South Dakota representatives, Mr. John Thune, Mr. Mike Rounds and
Mr. Dusty Johnson to fulfill your duty to us with an affirmative vote to lead the path for others to follow your vote. To revoke the 20 medals of honor that were awarded for bravery for the massacre at Wounded Knee creek in South Dakota in 1890. As there is no bravery in the massacre of innocent unarmed men, women and children and their leader who was lying there helpless suffering from pneumonia all under a white flag of truce.
Pilamayaye (thank you).