Students making and selling pins to help Red Lake victims and families
University of St. Thomas students are making and selling pins to help raise money for the victims and families of the Red Lake Indian Reservation following the March 21 shootings that killed 10 people there.
The pins are available at the Multicultural Student Services office on the first floor of Murray-Herrick Campus Center, and at the Box Office and Expeditions office on the lower level of Murray-Herrick.
All donations collected for the pins will be sent to St. Mary’s Mission Church on the Red Lake Indian Reservation and distributed to the shooting victims and families in need.
The red, white and black pins, made by St. Thomas students, represent the Red Lake colors. A yellow ribbon was added to each pin to represent hope.
One of the organizers of the relief fund is St. Thomas student Tara Trepanier, who over Easter break went home to Bemidji, located about 30 miles south of Red Lake. When Trepanier was growing up, her mother taught at the reservation, and now substitute-teaches two to three days a week. Her mother taught three of the student victims when they were in elementary school.
“My mother asked a friend on the reservation how our family could help, and the friend asked that we make pins that could be handed out in support, hope, remembrance and prayer for the people affected by the tragedy,” Trepanier said.
She and her sister made close to 500 pins over the Easter weekend to be handed out at the funerals and schools. While her family continued the support effort in Bemidji, she brought a couple dozen pins back to St. Thomas where she began handing them out.
“People suggested that we collect donations for the pins and send the money to Red Lake,” she said. Trepanier then contacted campus organizations, looking for volunteers to make more pins. More than 650 pins have now been made to be distributed for donations at St. Thomas, and she predicts that number to top 1,000 soon.
“It takes about a minute to make each pin, so every minute you can donate to help would be wonderful,” Trepanier told the volunteer pin-makers.
“Please keep the Red Lake Indian Reservation and all the people affected by this tragedy in your prayers,” Trepanier said. “Resources there are slim, unemployment is high, and education levels unfortunately are low. But the Red Lake Ojibwe Indians do not lack in hope; they remain rich in culture and tradition."
“By donating to the relief fund, the St. Thomas community can help turn the dreams of those touched by the tragedy into reality,” Trepanier added. “Thank you, and as it’s said in Ojibwe, ‘Miigwetch!’”
If you have questions about the project, contact Tara Trepanier at email@example.com.