- By Levi Rickert
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION — Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Runner Bear reacted to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Friday letter in which she threatened legal action against the Oglala Sioux Tribe if 10 checkpoints into the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were not removed within 48 hours.
Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Running Bear
The checkpoints remain intact as of today.
The checkpoints were put in place to help curtail traffic into the reservation, which is home to some 21,000 tribal citizens.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe is one of eight South Dakota tribes that said in late April they felt Gov. Noem had not taken strong enough action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. She never issued a stay-at-home order in the state. During the third week of April, Smithfield Foods meat packing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota had 700 of its 3,700 employees test positive for the coronavirus.
After receipt of Friday’s letter from the Gov. Noem, the Oglala Sioux Tribe said they would not abide by the request to remove the checkpoints.
“Governor Noem miscalculates our level of dedication to protect our most vulnerable people from crony capitalism’s thrust to force us to open our economy as they choose to do,” Runner Bear wrote.
For Runner Bear, Noem’s request with a threat of legal action if the checkpoints are not removed, comes down to the sovereignty of tribes.
“The Oglala band is ready to stand against foreign intrusion into our daily lives. We have a prior and superior right to make our own laws and be governed by them. We don’t go into their homes and make threats against them.”
According to the South Dakota Department of Health coronavirus website, as of Sunday, May 10, there have been 3,393 confirmed positive coronavirus cases in the state and 34 confirmed deaths. In Oglala County, where the Pine Ridge Indian Reservations sits, there has been one confirmed coronavirus case and zero deaths.
More Stories Like ThisLeaders Respond to Federal Indian Boarding School Investigative Report, Call it 'Monumental'
Native News Weekly (May 15, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Native Bidaské (Spotlight) with Carlisle Indian School Project Leader Gwen Carr
Indigenous Women on Roe v. Wade
Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools Bill Advocated for in Washington, D.C.
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.