Gov. Noem: Some tribal COVID-19 checkpoints illegal

South Dakota News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (CNN) – Neither side is backing down in a dispute over tribal checkpoints in South Dakota.

Governor Kristi Noem’s office said on Sunday that the COVID-19 precautions are not legal.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is screening people who pass through its lands to keep out those who don’t live on the reservation if they’re coming from COVID-19 hotspots.

“We’re gonna stay put. You know, this is right now, with the lack of resources we have medically, this is our best tool we have right now is to try and prevent. I believe this is a good practice. If we ever get it, it’s a good tool for us to use to isolate as much as we can of the virus,” said Harold Frazier, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

On Sunday, the state cited a memo from the Bureau of Indian Affairs from April 8 that said tribes can temporarily restrict traffic for safety purposes but only on tribally owned roads.

The state said such checkpoints are illegal, if they affect state and U.S. highways.

Governor Noem said she could go to court over the matter.

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