- History & Culture
What really happened at Wounded Knee, the site of a historic massacre
In 1890, U.S. soldiers killed hundreds of Lakota men, women, and children in an attempt to suppress a religious movement—and were awarded medals of honor for their acts of violence.
In January 1891, a group of U.S. Army soldiers marched past their general for a final review. Though their setting was a windswept, seemingly empty South Dakota valley, it was a festive occasion. Company after company paraded past, observed only by their general and small clusters of the people they had recently subdued.
Just a few weeks before, 500 of these marching men had massacred at least 300 Lakota men, women, and children. Twenty of the soldiers would soon receive the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military’s highest and most prestigious commendation, for their actions at Wounded Knee.
More than a century later, legislators and activists are calling on President Joe Biden to revoke the medals awarded to