Sioux tribes

South Dakota Tribes Defy Governor, Maintain Checkpoints in Coronavirus Fight

"We have every legal right to do what we're doing," said Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier. "We're just doing preventative action"

Then-Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota listens during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the president's budget proposals for fiscal year 2018, May 24, 2017.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images (File)

Two Native American tribes are defying South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's order to remove roadside checkpoints that tribal leaders claim are necessary to keep coronavirus from infecting reservations, NBC News reported Monday.

If the Oglala and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes don’t take down their checkpoints on state and federal highways, the government in Pierre will take them to court, a spokesman for Noem said.

Noem's staff issued memos on Friday and Sunday to make it "perfectly clear it is unlawful to interrupt the flow of traffic on these roads," according to the most recent communication.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier told MSNBC on Sunday that federal-tribal treaties allow the tribe to monitor who comes through reservations and to turn away travelers if they're from areas known to be coronavirus hotspots.

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