Realizing that hundreds of Haskell Indian Nations University students soon will be headed home for holiday break, school officials gathered on campus Tuesday for a ceremony that sought the students' safe return and mourned those killed in drunken-driving accidents.
"We must be ever-vigilant," said Ken Bordeaux, a Lakota Sioux elder who presided over most of the afternoon ceremony.
About 20 students, faculty and staff attended the outdoor ceremony.
Haskell student and lay minister Warren "Junior" Pratt read a list of 27 names of people with ties to Haskell who have been killed in drunken-driving accidents.
The list included the three Haskell students - Albert Whitebull, 25, Yancy Longhat, 20, and Ray "Mike" Red Elk, 24 - who were killed in a single accident on Aug. 29, 1999, in north Lawrence. Their friend, Clint Wahquahboshkuk, 23, died Sept. 10, 1999, from injuries suffered during the accident.
Pratt reminded the group that "alcohol and strong drink take away from life rather than add to it."
The ceremony was part of Haskell's participation in Drunken Driving Prevention Month.
Several Haskell students who have survived drunken-driving accidents are expected to discuss their experiences at 9 p.m. today at Blalock Hall.