Governor Kristi Noem Friday sent letters to Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and President Bear Runner of the Oglala Sioux Tribe demanding that checkpoints be removed from State and US Highways. If the checkpoints are not removed within the next 48 hours, the State will take necessary legal action.
“We are strongest when we work together; this includes our battle against COVID-19,” said Governor Noem. “I request that the tribes immediately cease interfering with or regulating traffic on US and State Highways and remove all travel checkpoints.”
On April 8, 2020, the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (DOI) issued a memorandum regarding South Dakota tribal government authority to close or restrict travel on State and US Highways. The memo makes it clear that tribes must consult with the state of South Dakota and enter into an agreement with the state before closing or restricting travel on State or US Highways. Neither consultation nor agreement among the tribal and state government occurred. Regardless, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe established checkpoints on State and US Highways to control and restrict non-tribal member travel.