Today is South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s 48-hour deadline for the Oglala and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes to remove coronavirus checkpoints on state and federal highways, and there’s no indication either tribe will obey or is afraid of Noem’s threat of legal action.
Noem says a BIA memorandum last month made it clear tribes can close or restrict travel on the highways without an agreement with the state, but OST President Julian Bear Runner says neither the governor or any other state official raised objections to the travel checkpoints in an April 16 phone conference.
In fact, President Bear Runner said Saturday that he and the tribe still hadn’t received Noem’s letter demanding that the checkpoints be removed and that they’d learned of it from reporters and social media.
He also says a BIA official confirmed shortly after Noem issued her threat that neither the BIA or Dept of Interior had found the tribe in violation of the travel plan that includes the checkpoints.
Bear Runner says the tribe’s only intent with the checkpoints is to protect the people, and is open to government-to-government discussion – adding that it isn’t helpful for Noem to threaten the tribe with legal action.