facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — U.S. Attorney William Barr visited the capital of the Cherokee Nation this past Thursday, only five days after sitting in the White House’s Rose Garden where some eight attendees have been diagnosed with the deadly Covid-19.

On Sunday, the Cherokee Nation told Native News Online it has engaged its public health contact tracing team who has advised there seems to have been minimal risk of exposure during US Attorney General Barr’s visit.

Barr was in Tahlequah to take part in a roundtable with Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., the tribal nation’s Attorney General Sara Hill, Brian Kuester, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and Trent Shores, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. The roundtable’s discussion centered on how the Cherokee Nation will move forward in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic July 9 ruling that declared the eastern portion of the state of Oklahoma to tribal jurisdiction in legal matters.

“It is very encouraging when leaders from Washington, D.C., visit Indian Country to see firsthand the great work the tribal nations are doing, and also to hear some of the challenges we are facing,” Hoskin said of the meeting.

Barr with HoskinFive days after attending Rose Garden announcement Barr visited the Cherokee Nation’s capital. Here he is pictured with Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

Since Barr’s visit, the nation has learned President Trump and his wife, Melania, have contracted Covid-19. While it has not been determined or disclosed how the Trumps got the virus, speculation has centered on the Rose Garden ceremony where Trump nominated Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court because eight of the attendees have since been diagnosed with Covid-19.

Barr sat in the front row during the Rose Garden announcement and intermingled with some of the guests who have since tested positive for Covid-19.

According to Kerri Kupec, spokesperson for the U.S. Dept. of Justice, who tweeted on Sunday night, 9:14 p.m., Barr has tested negative for Covid-19 four times since Friday. Barr, who has vacillated on quarantining, reportedly will be back to his office on Wednesday.

  • Kerri Kupec


Photographs of the roundtable show Barr wearing a protective facial mask, along with Cherokee leaders, during his visit to the Cherokee Nation.

The Cherokee Nation has also been in contact with federal officials travelling with Barr that have, as of late Saturday, reported negative for Covid-19.

“Cherokee Nation leads the country in COVID response, including longstanding safety measures such as mask requirements. Those measures were in place and enforced during Attorney General Barr’s visit,” Cherokee Nation Vice President of Government Relations Kim Teehee said. “Based on the totality of these efforts, we feel confident that the risk of exposure was minimal. But, the individuals who participated in meetings with General Barr will continue to monitor their health in the coming days and our public health team will continue to remain engaged and advise on this topic.”

The Cherokee Nation has had a mask mandate in place since May and leaders remained masked and social distanced during the Thursday announcement and roundtable.

More Stories Like This

Biden Nominates Salish & Kootenai Tribal Attorney Danna Jackson for Federal Bench
A Conversation With Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan: What We Can Celebrate Around the State
Return to the Heart Foundation Gives 44 Micro-Grants to Native Women Leaders
Indigenous Journalists Association President Addresses Members of the UNPFII
Inter-Tribal Council Passes Resolution Urging FCC to Establish Specific Event Code for Missing and Endangered Persons

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].