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Thu Oct 8, 2020, 12:49 PM

Tribes defend themselves against a pandemic and South Dakota's state government

As COVID-19 numbers soared across the country this spring, tribal nations began closing their reservation boundaries to non-residents. The Cheyenne River Sioux and Oglala Sioux erected checkpoints on roads entering their reservations in order to protect their citizens, even as the state of South Dakota refused to require masks or mandate social distance. By early May, South Dakota Gov. Kirsti Noem, R, explicitly told the tribes to remove their checkpoints or face the consequences.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier declined, saying that doing so would “seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation.” But Noem persisted. Throughout the pandemic, the governor has relied on voluntary measures, dismissed epidemiological studies and eschewed lockdowns in favor of business. Now, tribes say Noem has set herself against the safety of people on tribal lands by opposing their COVID-19 checkpoints.

Cultural Survival, a leading Indigenous rights organization, says this kind of behavior — strong-arming Indigenous nations into removing pandemic protections — is not uncommon among repressive governments that oppose Indigenous human rights. The group, which advocates for tribal communities’ self-determination, has found dozens of pandemic-related human rights violations against Indigenous peoples in North America, including four in the Western United States. In June, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe filed a complaint against the federal government, alleging that forcing tribes to shut down COVID-19 checkpoints would undermine tribal sovereignty and the people’s health and well-being.

“National governments don't accept that Indigenous peoples are independent. We have autonomy,” said Bian’ni Madsa’ Juárez López (Mixe and Zapotec), who tracks human rights violations against Indigenous peoples for Cultural Survival. “Communities can decide what to do with their land and what actions to take.”

Read more: https://www.hcn.org/articles/indigenous-affairs-covid19-tribes-defend-themselves-against-a-pandemic-and-south-dakotas-state-government
(High Country News)

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Reply Tribes defend themselves against a pandemic and South Dakota's state government (Original post)
TexasTowelie Oct 2020 OP
2naSalit Oct 2020 #1

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Thu Oct 8, 2020, 01:31 PM

1. We need to pay attention...

To the way in which the oppression in the states is applied to the indigenous population. SD is not the only state that does this sort of thing. Look at any state where tribal land is established, they have to fight in court to keep what they have as rights and lands all the time, it never ends. It's always about taking everything from them. So it's up to the rest of us to stand with them and insist on recognition of them as equals at the very least.

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