The Massacre at Wounded Knee is a heartbreaking tale. There is no doubt about that. There is also no doubt that people don’t like to be reminded of the horrid incident that happened there in 1890. There are people who drive by Wounded Knee every day. They see those ravines. People who live there. Knowing that not too far from their every day life on the rez, the land nearby still holds the blood of those who died there. It is put to the back of the mind. Modern day worries of bills, family, job may come to mind. But those who drive by, those who walk by, those who live on that land, know in the back of their mind, always that children once hid in those ravines, praying the soldiers didn’t find them.
It is sad.
I don’t write to make people sad, although I have been known to be a tear jerker. I don’t have to write nothing but the facts about Wounded Knee to make a sad story. It is shocking to those who don’t know. It is sad beyond belief. Then it pisses me off. I am not one who tries to be mad for no reason or any reason. I don’t seek anger the way some like the heat of the passion of anger. I try to keep things in my life light hearted and easygoing. However, the anger I have for what happened there makes me want to do what I can to change it. Makes me want to rewrite history. Makes me want to tell the whole world what this country did to it’s Indigenous. I know it is not the first massacre of Indigenous in the world, but listening to the inauguration speech yesterday about how wonderful this country is, made me more mad. How does this country think it is superior, when it has done nothing ethically or morally right regarding Native Americans? And we are supposed to be quiet and take the free crappy health care, the land put in trust so we can never develop further? We’re supposed to take the funding for programs so heavily regulated by the government that we will never get any further ahead, and be quiet about the horrid past at Wounded Knee? Be quiet about the fact that soldiers who killed babies out there were given the highest honor in this country?
I am angry about it when I see stories like My Lai Massacre, in Vietnam where the soldiers were court martialed and charged. It makes me angry when I see the story of Sergeant Bales who now faces the death penalty for killing sixteen Afghan civilians. How is that different to what happened to the Lakota at Wounded Knee?
You see, this campaign to rescind the medals is not to relive the past or make you cry over and over again. But I hope you did feel sad, at first. When the sadness subsides and the anger sets in and that anger, I hope will make you want to rescind these medals and make change as much as I do. We are not living in the past, we are remembering it and moving forward, rewriting our history with the truth.
Because if we don’t do this here and now, who will? We cannot let this country, land of the free and home of the brave, continue to disregard us and write us off. Because they didn’t kill all the Lakota at Wounded Knee. There were survivors.
We want those medals taken away, because really is that what they stand for? Murder?