Published on Friday, July 18, 2008.
Last modified on 7/18/2008 at 2:00 pm

Senators' bill would award Congressional Gold Medal to Crow war chief
Baucus, Tester, Enzi introduce legislation to honor Joe Medicine Crow

See the legislation!

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Montana U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today teamed up with Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., with new legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Dr. Joe Medicine Crow.

Medicine Crow, 94, lives in Lodge Grass, Mont. He was the first Crow Indian to receive a Master's Degree. Medicine Crow gave up his PhD studies to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II. While in Europe he accomplished four "war deeds," including capturing enemy horses and hand-to-hand combat, making him a war chief among the Crow people.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation's highest civilian honor awarded by Congress.

"I believe service is the most noble of all human endeavors and Dr. Joe Medicine Crow has served his community, his country and the Crow people all his life," Baucus said. "The Congressional Gold Medal, is about saying 'thank you' to a brilliant man who has dedicated his life to preserving the history of the west for our children and grandchildren and to making our country and world a better place."

 "Joe's a one-of-a-kind American," said Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "He's not just a war hero. He's an historian, a teacher, a writer and a respected tribal elder. Max and Mike and I are going to work hard to get him the recognition he deserves."

Earlier this year, Tester and retired U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., nominated Medicine Crow for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is similar to the Congressional Gold Medal. The President of the United States ultimately decides who receives the Medal of Freedom.

Medicine Crow has earned three honorary PhDs and written several books on the history of the Crow Tribe. He was instrumental in establishing the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo.

"There are few men who have lived the kind of life as Dr. Joe Medicine Crow," Enzi said. "His bravery, service to country, love of Native American heritage and desire to teach those around him are why he should be bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal. We can all learn from his life and his service should be forever remembered by this honor."

Last month, Medicine Crow received a Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honor, France's highest award, for his World War II heroism.

"It is a great honor for me to be nominated for this most prestigious award," Medicine Crow said. "Recognition in any form leaves a mark on this warrior heart of mine, but this award is an honor that consumes me. I have spent my life in service to my people, both on my reservation, and in my country. To be recognized by my country, as a whole, fills me to my very core with a pride that cannot be described in words. I humbly accept this nomination and thank my fellow veterans and countrymen in the Crow way, by continuing to do honor to my people, and my nation. Aho."

The senators' legislation to award Medicine Crow a Congressional Gold Medal is Senate Bill 3283. A copy of the legislation is available upon request.

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