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Why Native American Tribes Reject South Dakota's Order to Remove Their COVID-19 Checkpoints

Two tribes in Sioux country (located in South Dakota) have set up COVID-19 checkpoints on their territories to screen drivers for the disease. Republican Governor Kristi Noem has issued an order to remove the checkpoints, but the Cheyenne River Sioux and Oglala Sioux tribes say the checkpoints are the best way to protect against the coronavirus entering their communities, which are not equipped to handle an outbreak.

"We have eight hospital beds. We don't have no ICU. There are six ventilators," says Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. He also emphasizes that the Sioux are exercising their sovereignty and that he is ultimately responsible to the people who elected him, not the state or federal governments. "The governor is not my boss," he says. "We feel that we have every right to do this. We have a treaty."

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