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Red Lake Students Prepare to Return

Healing Rite Is Held at School

Associated Press
Tuesday, April 12, 2005; Page A02

RED LAKE, Minn., April 11 -- Two boys wounded in last month's deadly shooting rampage at Red Lake High School led the way as students returned to the school Monday to gather up their belongings and take part in a traditional Indian healing ceremony.

Classes will resume Tuesday at the school, which is on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Michelle Johnson, right, and daughter Anita Scott pass a memorial at the school where a gunman killed seven. (Jim Mone -- AP)

Ryan Auginash, 14, and Cody Thunder, 15, who survived the nation's deadliest school shooting since the incident at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in 1999, were at the front of a group of students, teachers and parents Monday.

Reporters were not allowed to observe the healing ceremony, which included Ojibwe songs and prayer, and people interviewed afterward were unwilling to speak in much detail about it.

Some students said they were fearful but determined to return to class.

"This is where I went to school," said sophomore Misty Roy, 15. "I know everybody here. I just want to stay here."

On March 21, Jeff Weise, a 16-year-old admirer of Adolf Hitler, fatally shot his grandfather and the man's girlfriend and then went to the high school and killed seven people, including five students and a teacher. He then committed suicide. Seven students were wounded, including two 15-year-old boys who are still in a Fargo, N.D., hospital.

Principal Chris Dunshee said about a quarter of the school's 350 students attended the ceremony.

Monday's visit was to allow students to pick up their belongings. But counselors also were on hand. Posters and cards of encouragement from students in neighboring towns had been set up for the teenagers to see.

The section of the school where the shootings occurred will be closed for extensive renovations, while classes will restart in an older part that had been slated for demolition. Students will also use a different entrance, away from the main doors the gunman walked through.

Classrooms will be locked when school is in session, and armed Bureau of Indian Affairs officers will patrol the halls, authorities said.

The crowd at the healing ceremony included Floyd Jourdain Jr., tribal chairman for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, whose son Louis, 16, has been arrested as a possible accomplice of Weise. Jourdain spoke at the ceremony, but the principal declined to talk about what was said.

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