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Memorial Unity Ride will honor victims of 2005 Red Lake shootings

Pioneer Staff Report

RED LAKE – Runners and horseback riders will converge on Red Lake today to honor the victims of the 2005 shootings in Red Lake.

Runners and horseback riders began their Memorial Unity Ride on Aug. 6 from Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota. The ride, with the slogan “Tatanke Chante and Those Loved Ones Who Left Us,” will culminate with a Saturday ceremony at the Red Lake powwow grounds.

The Unity Ride grew from a dream developed in 1983, according to a press release. Many were held throughout the years.

The late Gary Silk of Red Lake in 2005, following the March 21, 2005, tragedy in Red Lake, requested that Unity riders come to Red Lake.

On that day, 16-year-old Jeff Weise killed his grandfather and grandfather’s girlfriend at their home. He then went to Red Lake High School and killed five students, a teacher and a security guard and injured seven others before killing himself.

“Years have gone by since the last ride and many of the original riders have passed,” wrote Michael Meuers in a press release. “It was decided to ride from Spirit Lake in memory of those who passed and to make that promised return to Red Lake in honor of those who suffered during the tragedy.”

Runners and horseback riders are now retracing the route of that ride. They will gather Saturday at Red Lake High School for a short memorial service before returning to the powwow grounds for a larger ceremony.

Riders and runners have been asked to remember through prayer all of those who have suffered.

All runners and horseback riders are volunteers. Some people along the way provide gas and food, but participants pay their own way. It is not a fundraiser as accepting money would be contrary to the spirit of the ride. The event is drug- and alcohol-free.