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Elizabeth Warren Introduces Bill to Strip Medals of Honor Awarded For Wounded Knee Massacre

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Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley have introduced a bill that would strip the Congressional Medals of Honor that were awarded to participants in the Wounded Knee massacre. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators and fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as well as Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

On Wednesday morning, Warren’s Senate office announced the introduction of the Senate version of the Remove the Stain Act, which was introduced in the House of Representatives in June.

The bill would rescind the twenty Medals of Honor that were awarded “for acts at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890,” and would remove those soldiers’ names from the Medal of Honor roll.

“The horrifying acts of violence against hundreds of Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee should be condemned, not celebrated with Medals of Honor,” Warren said in a press release. “The Remove the Stain Act acknowledges a profoundly shameful event in U.S. history, and that’s why I’m joining my House colleagues in this effort to advance justice and take a step toward righting wrongs against Native peoples.”

“History must reflect that Wounded Knee was a massacre of hundreds of defenseless Native men, women, and children at the hands of U.S. soldiers,” said Senator Harris. “We will never be able to remove the pain and trauma caused by these acts of violence, but we can continue to fight for justice. Revoking these Medals of Honor is one step forward and I am proud to join my colleagues to address our country’s wrongs.”

The bill also states that “No person may be required to return to the Federal Government a Medal of Honor rescinded” under the measure, and that the law ” shall not be construed to deny any individual any benefit from the Federal Government.”

The announcement comes as National Native American Heritage Month comes to a close, and after President Donald Trump proclaimed that November would also be National American History and Founders Month. In the past, Trump has referenced the Wounded Knee massacre to mock Senator Warren over her past claims of Native American heritage.

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