West River Eagle

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From the Interim Editor

Speak truth solemnly

As editor of the West River Eagle, one of the hardest and most solemn duties I have is to report on the death of members of the community.

The community was shaken to its core over the weekend with the death of two young men by gun-violence. A third victim of the incident survived. 

As I said in my note accompanying our front-page story this week, the paper will refer to all three young men as victims. While the third young man may not have lost his life, he is also a victim. None of them should have been in a position where a warm summer night could end in a shooting.

These young people were full of promise and joy. While the names of the victims have not yet been released, I know from personal conversations that they are grieved by many. They are missed by friends, coworkers, and teachers. I know this for a fact, it’s not empty rhetoric.

This is an unspeakable tragedy all around.

This is the fifth horrific death of a young Lakota man I have been entrusted to report in the West River Eagle. We will continue to tell their stories with love and respect. It’s vitally important to speak out about needless loss in order to try for change. The world needs to know their stories.

There are many forces at play in this particular tragedy: gun-violence, a wider culture of violence, hopelessness and despair, drug trafficking and abuse, poverty, intergenerational trauma, struggle. There is also healing, love, music, creativity, finding a voice for the voiceless, and speaking truth.

I encourage all of us to find and speak our truths. Speak your love to your family, friends and neighbors. Strive for peace and healing in your community. Find tangible ways to make things better. Don’t give up. We are stronger together.

In a world where words can’t express the loss of these three young men (and all those before them) the paper will continue to try to find the words. We hope you will try with us.

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