South Dakota Gov. Calls on Trump to Settle Dispute with Tribes Over Checkpoints
May 22, 2020 | by James G. Dalton
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has requested that the White House intervene in the state’s dispute with tribal leaders over coronavirus testing checkpoints along state and federal highways, Fox News reports.
In a letter to President Donald Trump sent Thursday, Noem claimed that the Cheyenne River and Oglala Sioux Tribes have “unlawful tribal checkpoints” set up to keep uninvited nonresidents off of reservations during the coronavirus crisis.
“We’ve been working for weeks to find a solution to the tribal checkpoints issue that respects both tribal and state sovereignty while following federal law,” the governor wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, the tribes have continued to operate checkpoints on State and US highways.”
Noem previously threatened to sue the tribes if they didn’t cease conducting highway stops, but backed down and attempted to negotiate instead.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe chairman Harold Frazier wrote a letter to the governor last week informing her that the tribes will take her request to restrict the checkpoints to tribal roads into consideration, but noted that he thinks their sovereignty allows them to instate checkpoints at any place on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, which is located in the northern region of the state.
“This is our home and this is our land,” Frazier said. “One does not come into somebody’s house and tell them how to live.”