Red Lake Nation plans quiet day of reflection
The Red Lake Nation plans a quiet day of reflection on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the nation's deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. And while tribal officials issued Friday a warning that media stay away from key reservation sites...
The Red Lake Nation plans a quiet day of reflection on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the nation's deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
And while tribal officials issued Friday a warning that media stay away from key reservation sites, Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued a proclamation Friday asking all Minnesotans to observe a moment of silence at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The Red Lake Band of Chippewa will spend Tuesday "with a quiet day of private memorials," a Tribal Council statement said. "All tribal programs will be closed on March 21 to allow the community to observe this day as they wish. All flags will be flown at half staff to honor the victims."
A year ago, 16-year-old Jeff Weise shot and killed his grandfather and his girlfriend at their home and then made his way to Red Lake High School in his grandfather's tribal police squad. There, he killed five students, a teacher and a school security officer before turning the gun on himself with a fatal shot.
As Tuesday approaches, the tribe seeks to observe the tragedy in private.
Restrictions will be placed on the media visiting the reservation from Monday through Friday, "at the request of school officials and community members," the Tribal Council statement said.
Media will be restricted from the Red Lake High School complex, all school-associated activities and from tribal grounds adjacent to the High School. The Tribal Council "respectfully requests" compliance, but notes that "non-compliance will result in removal from the reservation."
The Tribal Council earlier this week approved a resolution declaring Tuesday a "Day of Remembrance," according to the Red Lake Net News, a Web site maintained at Redby and carrying tribal information and news.
"The council decided that out of respect for the privacy of the victims' families, no community-wide observance will be held," it said. Resources that would have been used to put on a community-wide feast will be donated to victims' families.
The resolution notes that the one-year anniversary will cause an "unavoidable wakening of memories and sadness" and that "the families of the nine victims will be involved in their own observance of this day in accordance with their own family traditions."
"The Tribal Council wishes to honor the privacy of each family and their tradition of mourning, while still recognizing the immense loss to the entire Red Lake Nation which the events of this day presented," states the resolution. All tribal programs will be closed Tuesday to allow personnel to take part in family events as they see fit, it said.
Red Lake schools to be open Tuesday
The Red Lake School Board has decided that school will be open on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the shootings that left nine dead.
In a statement issued Friday, Superintendent Stuart Desjarlait announced that the decision was made based on results of a survey of students and staff at the high school and middle school. The survey was taken at the request of families affected by the tragedy of last March.
The statement said all schools in the district will observe a moment of silence in the morning and students will be released at 2:30 p.m., with no after-school activities.
Desjarlait said students will be excused to attend family ceremonies. Parents or guard-ians should send a note or call the school to have the student excused.
A meal will be served beginning at noon for families, students and staff.
Gov. Pawlenty issues proclamation
Meanwhile Tuesday, Gov. Pawlenty is asking Minnesotans to observe a "moment of silence and reflection" at 2 p.m. "in honor and remembrance of the lives lost and those forever affected by this tragedy."
Pawlenty's proclamation issued Friday says "the hearts and prayers of all Minnesotans go out to the Red Lake Nation" for the loss of those shot and killed by Weise: Daryl Lussier, Michelle Sigana, Derrick Brun, Neva Rogers, Dewayne Lewis, Chase Lussier, Alicia White, Thurlene Stillday and Chanelle Rosebear.
"The hearts and prayers of all Minnesotans go out to the Red Lake Nation as they reflect on the tragedy that befell them a year ago next Tuesday," Pawlenty said in a statement accompanying the proclamation.
"I hope the strong people of Red Lake have found some solace since the senseless loss of their loved ones," the Republican governor said. "At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, across the state and particularly in our schools, we will show our support and love for our fellow Minnesotans."
States the proclamation: "On Monday, March 21, 2005, the Red Lake Nation experienced what Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. said was 'the darkest day in the history of our tribe,' when nine individuals were shot and fatally wounded, and another seven individuals were shot and injured, by a troubled teen-ager."