Red Lake sees progress 5 years after shooting

Red Lake, Minnesota (AP) March 2010

It had been five years since a school shooting shook the Red Lake Chippewa Reservation in northwestern Minnesota.

Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. tells the Pioneer Press the shooting still hurts, but the community decided it won’t let the tragedy define it.

On March 21, 2005, 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and grandfather’s companion, then went to Red Lake High School and killed seven others before taking his own life.

Jourdain says there has been much progress since the shooting – $15 million in stimulus money was spent on schools, housing and road projects, and there has been a reduction in assaults and vandalism.

But there are frustrations too.

Among them, a juvenile-detention facility built in 2005 is empty after the Bureau of Indian Affairs balked at funding it. The band has sued the BIA and trial is set for early April, but settlement negotiations are under way.