Regarding Jim Northrup's Walking the Rez Road, what is an "idiot award"?
In the chapter of Jim Northrup's Walking the Rez Road titled Veteran's Dance, Lug has decided to visit Judy at the latter's home, during which he tells her about his recent trip to Washington, D.C. While visiting the nation's capitol, Lug went to see the Vietnam War Memorial, commonly referred to as "the Wall." Lug describes finding his friend's name inscribed on the Wall, which lists all the names of American military personnel killed during that war. Lug suggests that he had thought about taking his own life after seeing his friend's name along with all the others, but decided against it. Like many veterans of that divisive conflict, Lug has experienced difficulties emotionally as well as physically, having been wounded in combat. As the two converse, the conversation turns to detailed descriptions of Lug's combat experiences, with Judy growing increasingly emotional herself, hearing of these horrible memories permanently etched into Lug's subconscious. Finally, Judy asks Lug to explain how he was wounded during the war, noting that "all we knew was that you were awarded the Purple Heart." Hearing this reference to the medal bestowed upon those wounded in combat, Lug replies, "we used to call them Idiot Awards. It meant that you fucked up somehow."
In conclusion, then, the "Idiot Award" is a reference to the Purple Heart medal presented to wounded veterans.