January 1, 2013
School shooting survivors arrive
Condensed by Native Village
Minnesota: When members of Red Lake Indian Reservation received a plaque from Columbine High School massacre survivors, they hoped the gift would stay with them.
The Columbine survivors gave it to them in 2005 after people at Red Lake – including five students – were gunned down in what was then the second most-deadly school shooting. The Columbine students had received the plaque from survivors of a previous school shooting.
We hope you never pass this on, the Columbine survivors told them, but if a tragedy like this happens again, go help heal the community where it does.
Four Red Lake massacre survivors were among 13 Red Lake students who, along with school administrators, brought the plaque to Newtown. They hoped to help those affected by the last month's Newtown shooting spree that left 20 children dead.
Red Lake knows heartbreak and loss in a way only those in Newtown, Columbine, and few others know.
"They've just traveled almost 30 hours driving cross-country in the middle of all this weather to get out here and to be with the families," said coordinator Stephanie Hope Smith in front of Newtown's EdmondTown Hall.
The group has support "from all over Indian country," Hope Smith said. Red Lake Reservation sponsored their cars. The Minneapolis American Indian Center had a sendoff ceremony. The Dakota 38 Memorial Ride members sent prayer ties.
Along with the plaque, the former Red Lake students gave Newtown students tribal flags signed by tribal children. They also offer traditional prayers. They hoped the gifts would be physical reminders that survivors of a similar tragedy were praying for them.
Village © Gina Boltz
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