The governor of South Dakota tells Sioux tribes that they have 48 hours to remove Covid-19 checkpoints

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Governor Kristi Noem sent the letters Friday to leaders of the Oglala Sioux tribe and the Sioux tribe of the Cheyenne River demanding that checkpoints designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on tribal land be removed, according to the governor’s office.

“We are stronger when we work together; this includes our battle against Covid-19,” said Noem. “I ask that the tribes immediately stop interfering or regulating traffic on state and US roads and remove all checkpoints.”

CNN contacted both tribes for comment.

According to the checkpoint of the Sioux tribe of the Cheyenne river policies posted on its social mediaresidents of your reservation may travel to South Dakota to areas that the state has not considered a Covid-19 “hotspot” if it is an essential activity such as medical appointments or to make supplies unavailable on the reservation. But they have to fill out a health questionnaire when they go out and when they come back every time they go through a checkpoint.

South Dakota residents who do not live in the reservation are only allowed if they are not from a hotspot and it is for an essential activity. But they must also complete a health questionnaire.

Those who come from a South Dakota hotspot or from a country outside the state cannot access the reservation except for an essential activity, but must obtain a travel permit available on the tribe’s website.

Both tribes have also issued strict home return and curfew orders for their communities. Noem has not issued residence orders for the state.

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Last month, when checkpoints began, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a memorandum that says tribes must consult and reach an agreement with the state of South Dakota before closing or restrict travel on state or U.S. highways.

There are 169 cases of Covid-19 among Native Americans in the state as of Friday, the health department said. The state has 3,145 confirmed cases and 31 deaths.


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