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Disaster Date:07/26/2021

Red Lake, MN


What Happened

A tornado struck the community of Red Lake on Monday, July 26, 2021. This included the Red Lake and Redby areas on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, causing thousands of dollars in damages to buildings, motor vehicles and other structures and property. They experienced golf-ball sized hail and damaging winds that destroyed homes and vehicles. 78 homes were heavily damaged. There was no disaster declaration from FEMA, leaving the community on their own to secure funds for repairs and volunteers to make repairs.

What MDS Is Doing

MDS volunteers will be staying in a newly constructed Volunteer Center in the town of Red Lake. MDS volunteers will be replacing damaged siding, windows and doors as well as doing interior repairs once the homes are dried in. 

Volunteers will have the opportunity to experience and learn a unique Native American culture during their time in Red Lake. 


Red Lake is located in North Central Minnesota, about 36 miles north of Bemidji. It is in a beautifully forested area and rests on the shores of Lower Red Lake. The area is known for its outstanding fishing and outdoor activities. The Red Lake Tribal Council is committed to maintaining and conducting its affairs in a manner that is aligned with the expectations of our ancestors, elders, tribal members, and future generations. About 36.8% of families and 36.4% of the population were below the poverty line.

Stories from the Field

Weekly Reports

Red Lake, MN – May 19-25, 2024

Six Bethel College students as well as Cleo Koop, Gail Graber and Jamila Branch arrived from Kansas to join our long-term volunteers this week.  Monday evening, Inko Ndlovu-Mathuthu, year-long volunteer from Zimbabwe, joined us as a crew leader,...

Red Lake, MN – May 5-11, 2024

Long-term volunteers this week were Dottie and Tim Weber from Pennsylvania as head and assistant cook; David King from Virginia as construction supervisor; John Stutzman from Montana as crew leader; Don and Rachel Horst from Kansas as project...

Red Lake, MN – September 17-23, 2023

Long-term volunteers this week include Jack Odhiambo, Inko Ndlovu-Mathuthu, Eric Douglas and Janis Ott, the four year-long volunteers; David King, crew leader; Lois Wenger, head cook; Don and Rachel Horst, project director and office manager.  Our...

See More Weekly Reports