Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Days After Killings, a Tribe Seeks a Cloak of Privacy for Its Grief

RED LAKE, Minn., March 23 - The Chippewa Indians of the Red Lake Reservation have always set themselves firmly apart.

They have their own license plates, which bow to Minnesota statehood but feature the tribe's name on top. For a time in the 1980's, non-Indians even needed a tribal passport to do business here or to drive across the reservation. Most American Indian tribes allow people to own plots of land - in Red Lake, the traditional ways of communal property still adhere.

But the grief and shock unleashed when a troubled 16-year-old went on a shooting rampage here on Monday have shaken the walls of that cultural separation and raised questions about what holding the world at arm's length means, and what it costs.