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Paper examines 'lost youth' of Leech Lake reservation

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is running a three-day series on "The Lost Youth of Leech Lake," a collection of stories and photographs of violence, substance abuse and other problems facing youth on the Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation in Minnesota.

The series was prompted by the killing of Darrell Louis Bisson, a blind man, by three youths. A reporter, who grew up on the reservation, and a photographer spent six months talking to residents about their lives and struggles.

The reservation has been the site of a number of violent crimes committed by youth. Darryl Headbird killed his father and girlfriend's parents when he was 14. Now 17, he is serving a 40-year sentence in state prison.

A common theme is alcohol and substance abuse by parents. The three youths who killed Bisson had developmental problems and parents who drank or used drugs or neglected them.

Avoiding drugs and violence is hard but some youth are trying to make it. Tara Hare, 16, finds it hard because her mother is an alcoholic. Tara, described as bright and dedicated by school officials, recently graduated from high school and hopes to go to college some day.

Others haven't been as lucky. Heather Casey, 15, died of a drug and alcohol overdose. Her parents were drug users.

Get the Story:
A murderous rage: The story of Darryl Headbird and Sierra Goodman (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 4/25)
One deadly night: The killing of Louie Bisson (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 4/25)
The Lost Youth Of Leech Lake (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 4/25)
Tara on the edge: One teen tries to break cycle of drinking (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 4/26)
Alone, one teen perseveres (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 4/26)
Drugs shape a life and death: Heather Casey�s world (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 4/26)

Full Series:
The lost youth of Leech Lake | Slide Shows | Discussion Forum | About this series | Editor's Note