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Descendants of Wounded Knee Massacre go to the Capitol to revoke medals of honor

 A descendant of the Wounded Knee Massacre points out family member on a display at Rapid City Regional Airport. (KOTA TV)
A descendant of the Wounded Knee Massacre points out family member on a display at Rapid City Regional Airport. (KOTA TV) (KOTA)
Published: Jun. 23, 2019 at 6:53 PM CDT
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Nine Native Americans in South Dakota boarded a flight out of Rapid City Regional Airport Sunday morning to the Capitol to tell Congress to revoke Wounded Knee medals of honor.

Several descendants of the Wounded Knee Massacre gathered to head out to Washington D.C. to push for the Remove The Stain Act. It's an act to rescind all the medals of honor awarded to people involved in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre.

After sending several letters to the U.S. President and members of Congress, FourDirections members ask for the act to be included in the next National Defense Authorization Act.

99-year-old Marcella LeBeau served as a nurse in World War II on D-Day and for years has asked to revoke the medals. She is proud to be going with several tribe members who want to preserve the history of their ancestors.

"I think it's wonderful to have this kind of support and we've had this support all along. And we've been trying in many different ways to bring about this horrible event to the public so that people know what happened there," LeBeau said.

They will meet Congress members on Tuesday.

 Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the highest military award that can be presented to a service member, recognizing them for their valor in combat. 

The medal dates back to the beginning of the Civil War when in 1861 it was first authorized for sailors and Marines. The Army began awarding it in 1862. While the Medal of Honor is awarded in the name of Congress, it is not the “Congressional” Medal of Honor. 

More than 3,400 service members, mostly Army, have been awarded the Medal of Honor.  Most were awarded during the Civil War (1,523), followed by World War II (472) and the Indian Wars (426). 

The U.S. Army awarded 20 Medals of Honor to soldiers following the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre.  This week, several descendants of that massacre are in Washington lobbying Congress to rescind the medals via the Remove the Stain Act. Over the years, Medals of Honor have been rescinded; 910 to date. 

Here is a list of U.S. Army soldiers who receive the Medal of Honor for their actions at Wounded Knee Creek, Dec. 29, 1890. Note that there are only 19 listed from the Army’s website. Several Medals of Honor were also awarded to soldiers for actions Dec. 30, 1890 through Jan. 1, 1891 at White Clay Creek. 

1.      AUSTIN, WILLIAM G: Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Galveston, Tex. Date of issue: 27 June 1891. Citation: While the Indians were concealed in a ravine, assisted men on the skirmish line, directing their fire, etc., and using every effort to dislodge the enemy. 

2.      CLANCY, JOHN E: Rank and organization: Musician, Company E, 1st U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: ------. Birth: New York, N.Y. Date of issue 23 January 1892. Citation: Twice voluntarily rescued wounded comrades under fire of the enemy. 

3.      FEASTER, MOSHEIM: Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Schellburg, Pa. Birth: Schellburg, Pa. Date of issue: 23 June 1891. Citation: Extraordinary gallantry. 

4.      GARLINGTON, ERNEST A: Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Athens, Ga. Born: 20 February 1853, Newberry, S.C. Date of issue: 26 September 1893. Citation: Distinguished gallantry. 

5.      GRESHAM, JOHN C: Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Lancaster Courthouse, Va. Birth: Virginia. Date of issue: 26 March 1895. Citation: Voluntarily led a party into a ravine to dislodge Sioux Indians concealed therein. He was wounded during this action.

6.      HAMILTON, MATHEW H: Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Australia. Date of issue: 25 May 1891. Citation: Bravery in action.

HARTZOG, JOSHIJA B: Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 1st U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Paulding County, Ohio, Date of issue: 24 March 1891. Citation: Went to the rescue of the commanding officer who had fallen severely wounded, picked him up, and carried him out of range of the hostile guns. 

8.      HAWTHORNE, HARRY L: Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, 2d U S. Artillery. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Kentucky. Born: 1860, Minnesota. Date of issue: 1 1 October 1892. Citation: Distinguished conduct in battle with hostile Indians.

HILLOCK, MARVIN C: Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Lead City, S. Dak. Birth: Michigan. Date of issue: 16 April 1891. Citation: Distinguished bravery. 

10.   HOBDAY, GEORGE: Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Pulaski County, 111. Date of issue: 23 June 1891. Citation: Conspicuous and gallant conduct in battle. 

11.   LOYD, GEORGE: Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company I, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 16 April 1891. Citation: Bravery, especially after having been severely wounded through the lung. 

12.   McMlLLAN, ALBERT W: Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Baltimore, Md. Date of issue: 23 June 1891. Citation: While engaged with Indians concealed in a ravine, he assisted the men on the skirmish line, directed their fire, encouraged them by example, and used every effort to dislodge the enemy. 

13.   NEDER, ADAM: Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: Sioux campaign, December 1890. Entered service at:------. Birth: Bavaria. Date of issue: 25 April 1891. Citation: Distinguished bravery. 

14.   SULLIVAN, THOMAS: Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Newark, N.J. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 17 December 1891. Citation: Conspicuous bravery in action against Indians concealed in a ravine. 

15.   TOY, FREDERICK E: Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company C, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at:------. Birth: Buffalo, N.Y. Date of issue: 26 May 1891. Citation: Bravery. 

16.   TRAUTMAN, JACOB: Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company I, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 27 March 1891. Citation: Killed a hostile Indian at close quarters, and, although entitled to retirement from service, remained to the close of the campaign. 

17.   WARD, JAMES: Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Birth: Quincy, Mass. Date of issue: 16 April 1891. Citation: Continued to flight after being severely wounded. 

18.   WElNERT, PAUL H: Rank and organization: Corporal, Company E, 1st U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, S. Dak., 29 December 1890. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 24 March 1891. Citation: Taking the place of his commanding officer who had fallen severely wounded, he gallantly served his piece, after each fire advancing it to a better position. 

19.   ZIEGNER, HERMANN: Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 7th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, and White Clay Creek, S. Dak 29-30 December 1890. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Germany Date of issue: 23 June 1891. Citation: Conspicuous bravery.

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