Pioneer Editorial: A response for Rose
Driving along roads in northern Minnesota in November, it's not unusual to see people dressed in blaze orange out in the woods and fields or even along the roadway as they make their way to their favorite hunting spots.
Driving along roads in northern Minnesota in November, it’s not unusual to see people dressed in blaze orange out in the woods and fields or even along the roadway as they make their way to their favorite hunting spots.
But Saturday’s convergence of the orange just north of Bemidji was not in pursuit of the big bucks or dashing does, but one of a much more serious endeavor.
More than 100 people of all ages and walks of life, from Bemidji to Redby to points farther, all gathered Saturday to help look for Rose Downwind, or any clues that will lead to answers about the disappearance of the 31-year-old mother of five.
“We had people from North Dakota, all over Minnesota and even some people from South Dakota come and help today,” Lissa Yellowbird-Chase of the Fargo-based Sahnish Scouts, who helped coordinate Saturday’s search, told Pioneer reporter Matthew Liedke.
Downwind has been missing almost a month, having last been seen leaving a residence in southeast Bemidji on Oct. 21. The Redby woman is described as an American Indian woman, 5 feet 4 inches and 115 pounds with long, straight dark hair. Bemidji Police and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension believes foul play was involved and are asking for the public’s help in finding clues.
Downwind’s family, which includes Dennis Banks, Rose’s grandfather who is a Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe elder and co-founder of the American Indian Movement, has held several searches north of Bemidji, where law enforcement has focused its efforts. Saturday’s was the first public volunteer search.
“Somebody’s lost, so we have to find her. If it was our family, we would expect the same,” searcher Phillip Nelson of Bemidji told Liedke. “I think it’s been an excellent turnout today, too. Everyone is volunteering their time on a nice Saturday to do this.”
Organizers were energized by the turnout, as well as the good weather, and scheduled another search for Sunday. Alas, there were no definitive finds, but some information was able to be passed to law enforcement.
Additional public searches have not been scheduled as of Monday.
You can bet when there is, the Bemidji area will respond. Georgia Downwind, Rose’s non-biological mother, summed it up best Saturday:
“Even people who don’t know Rose are here to help. This is the way the world needs to be. People helping other people,” Georgia Downwind said. “This is about Rose. There’s no color difference here. Everybody has just come together to help.”
PS: To learn more about the search for Rose, see the Facebook page “Help Find Rose Downwind,” which has updates and links to information.