Barbara and Oliver J. Semans Sr., Co-Executive Directors of Four Directions, Inc.
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Putting an end to current day massacres may begin with addressing and removing honors for massacres of the past.
Barbara and Oliver J. Semans Sr., Co-Executive Directors of Four Directions, Inc. have been calling on the United States government to "remove the Medals of Honor from the 20 men who were part of the 7th Calvary that murdered our people at what's been called, The Battle at Wounded Knee. As you know, this was no battle. Fortunately, modern history has recognized what it was and now calls it, The Wounded Knee Massacre."
The Semans note that Army General Nelson A. Miles, then the commanding officer of the Army's Division of the Missouri, spoke of the atrocity of Wounded Knee "at the time and again and again through the rest of his life. By the way, General Miles should be remembered as a man of honor who knew the difference between heroism and a massacre. Miles himself earned a Medal of Honor for his actions during the Civil War.
Four Directions notes that descendants of Wounded Knee victims and survivors are planning to travel to Washington, DC, to bring this cause to Members of Congress; "It's time for Congress to hear his words":
Wholesale massacre occurred and I have never heard of a more brutal, cold-blooded massacre than that at Wounded Knee." Miles wrote further of women killed 'with little children on their backs, and small children powder-burned by the men who killed them being so near as to burn the flesh and clothing with the powder of their guns, and nursing babes with five bullet holes through them.- Army General Nelson A. Miles
The Semans' Memorial Day weekend email states:
On this Memorial Day Weekend, please take a brief moment to think about the Medal of Honor.- Advertisement -
The Medal is our nation's highest recognition of bravery awarded military personnel. Since 1861, only about 3,500 such medals have been presented, many posthumously. That's a small number of recipients over the span of so many years and so many wars and conflicts in our nation's history. The Medal of Honor is meant to recognize only the most extraordinary acts of courage, selflessness, gallantry and sacrifice. And with one glaring exception, that has been the high moral standard held sacred by our Armed Forces.
Now, we ask you to help bring justice and closure to that one glaring exception. Twenty Medals of Honor were awarded for the massacre of innocent Native American men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek. At the time, tensions on the prairie had been running high among White settlers and Army troops, who were misinterpreting an Indian Ghost Dance as a harbinger of potential uprising. Fearing for the safety of his own people, Chief Big Foot accepted the invitation from Red Cloud to move about 370 members of his tribe to the Pine Ridge Reservation.
But that journey never reached the hospitality of Red Cloud or the promise of safe embrace at Pine Ridge. On December 29, 1890, approximately 250 innocent Indians seeking safe harbor were killed in a post-surrender, confused skirmish with a superior number of troops. Of the 33 troops who died, many were said to have been killed as a result of the troops' own cross fire. The Army at the time called it the Battle of Wounded Knee, but history recalls it more aptly as The Wounded Knee Massacre. Military officers later testified they tried to stop the slaughter of the unarmed attempting to flee, the shooting of women and children, but the fact remains there was no stopping the carnage once it began.