Support for 'Remove the Stain' Act Grows Nationwide
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Remove the Stain Act (H.R. 3467) is gaining momentum, as candidates for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination have begun to rally behind the landmark legislation.
The bipartisan bill, introduced on June 25, addresses the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 and rescinds 20 Medals of Honor that were awarded to members of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment for acts committed during the massacre.
“I am encouraged by the outpouring of support for this important bill,” said Rep. Denny Heck (WA-10), lead sponsor of the legislation. “There was no honor in the killing of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children. The Wounded Knee Massacre is a stain on the legacy of the Medal of Honor, the highest recognition that can be given to U.S. servicemembers for acts of valor. The 129 years that have passed since the massacre have not absolved us of our responsibility to do the right thing.”
Early this week, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro separately announced their support for the Remove the Stain Act. Then, during the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum in Sioux City Iowa on Monday and Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Congressman John Delaney, author Marianne Williamson, and independent candidate Mark Charles all announced their support for the legislation.
Several organizations have also announced their support for the Remove the Stain Act, including Veterans for Peace, Friends Committee on National Legislation, VoteVets, and Four Directions, which organized the Frank LaMere Forum in Sioux City.
“Veterans For Peace is proud to offer our endorsement of the Remove the Stain Act,” said Garett Reppenhagen, Veterans For Peace Executive Director and U.S. Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “We join Congressman Heck, Congressman Cook, Congresswoman Haaland, and Indigenous communities in denouncing the violence that occurred at the Wounded Knee Massacre. As veterans we believe these medals from Wounded Knee tarnish the history and legacy of the Medal of Honor. Congress should act to remove the stain. We therefore strongly support H.R. 3467, the Remove the Stain Act.”
On June 25, original sponsors Rep. Heck, Rep. Paul Cook (CA-08), and Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01) met with descendants of Lakota survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre to announce the introduction of the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Before its introduction in June, Reps. Sharice Davids (KS-03), Daniel Kildee (MI-05), and Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) joined as original cosponsors of the Remove the Stain Act. Since then, Reps. Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Steven Horsford (NV-04), and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) have joined to cosponsor the legislation.
The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on the morning of December 29, 1890, when the U.S. 7th Cavalry opened fire on hundreds of Lakota men, women, and children, almost all of whom were unarmed. In addition to their standard issue rifles, the 7th Cavalry had four mounted Hotchkiss guns, each capable of firing 37mm rounds 43 times per minute. According to accounts of the massacre, most of the 25 U.S. soldiers who were killed were victims of friendly fire. Hundreds of Lakota people were killed. Twenty Medals of Honor were awarded for the Wounded Knee Massacre.