Tribe defies governor, checkpoints remain in place

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Tribe defies governor, checkpoints remain in place

The CRST checkpoints and surrounding issues caught the attention of CNN, who sent a TV news crew to Timber Lake to interview Chairman Harold Frazier and others. This photo was taken early Monday morning. Photo by Kathy Nelson

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) and Oglala Sioux Tribe are defying Gov. Kristi Noem’s demand that they remove health safety checkpoints set up at reservation borders to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and they appear poised for a legal battle with the state if necessary.

After saying two weeks ago that her biggest concern regarding the checkpoints is the understanding that emergency services and supplies must have access to the reservations, Noem on Friday threatened to take the two tribes to federal court if they don’t remove the checkpoints, which have been in place on CRST since late March.

Her May 11 deadline came and went with CRST Chairman Harold Frazier saying the tribes are “staying put,” claiming they consulted with state officials and heard no objections before they set up the travel checkpoints. Thus far, only one case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed on the Cheyenne River Reservation. That case, tribal officials note, was detected early through communications between one of the border checkpoints and the tribal COVID-19 Command Center, and the individual involved was immediately placed in quarantine, as were others she may have come into contact with.





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