Sioux tribes in South Dakota are refusing to remove COVID-19 checkpoints they set up on roads that pass through their land.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem wrote to tribal leaders last week saying that checkpoints set up by the Cheyenne River and Oglala Sioux tribes were illegal.
“We are strongest when we work together; this includes our battle against COVID-19,” said Noem in a release. “I request that the tribes immediately cease interfering with or regulating traffic on U.S. and state highways and remove all travel checkpoints.”
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier defended the checkpoints in a news release Friday, saying that they would “not apologize for being an island of safety in a sea of uncertainty and death.”
Noem has ordered the tribes to dismantle them, stating in a letter to Frazier dated May 8 (pdf) that “if the checkpoints are not removed within the next 48 hours, the state will take necessary legal action.”
The governor wrote a similar letter (pdf) to Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner, in which she said the tribe installed the checkpoint in violation of a Department of Interior memorandum setting forth legal parameters and procedures the tribe must follow if it wishes to establish travel checkpoints on U.S. and state highways.
“To date, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has not followed the legally established procedure,” she wrote.
The Sioux insist the checkpoints are justified as their only means of preventing the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, from entering their reservations.
Francisca Tobacco, of the Oglala Lakota tribe, manned a checkpoint near the Pine Ridge Reservation on Sunday, Indianz.com reported.
“Im just here for our people,” she told the outlet when asked why she had stopped a car seeking to enter the reservation and requested they take a detour. “Im protecting my people,” she replied.
Frazier said in the release that while he acknowledges the need to work together, “you continuing to interfere in our efforts to do what science and facts dictate seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation.”
“Ignorant statements and fiery rhetoric encourage individuals already under stressRead More From Source