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RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION — Taking the bull by the horns, Red Lake Band of the Chippewa Indians Tribal Chairman Darrell Seki, Sr. has declared Medical Martial Law on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

The medical martial law went into effect on Friday, April 3 and will last for 15 days.

Located 270 miles northwest of Minneapolis, the Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota’s most populous Indian reservation, has to approximately 5,200 residents, The 1,259-square miles of reservation is a closed reservation, meaning all land is held in common by the tribe and there is no private property, as some Indian reservations are not.

Seki declared medical martial law under a provision allowed by Red Lake Nation’s tribal law when the health and safety of tribal citizens is at risk. He did so after it was determined a Red Lake tribal citizen tested positive for COVID-19.The medical martial law includes a mandatory quarantine, restrictions on gatherings, and limited travel to and from the reservation. The quarantine requires all residents to be in their homes and yards.

During the medical martial law, Red Lake Nation tribal citizens, community members and other individuals may enter the Red Lake Indian Reservation for the following reasons:

  • To shop for necessities during the hours of non-curfew, care for elders and vulnerable persons or others requiring assistance, attend medical appointments and go to and from employment, only if determined to be an essential employee.
  • Semi-trucks will be allowed to deliver food to grocery stores on the Red Lake Nation or passing through to deliver food to another destination.
  • Other Law Enforcement agency vehicles passing through to get to another jurisdiction off the Red Lake Indian Reservation.
  • Funerals and wakes—visitors limited to 10 adults at a time.
  • Going home, taking Red Lake Nation citizens or community member's home.
  • Semi-trucks can pass through, unscheduled stops can lead to penalties.

Full details on all the restrictions are posted on the Red Lake Tribal Council Facebook page.

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The Native News Health Desk is made possible by a generous grant from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation as well as sponsorship support from RxDestroyer, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the National Indian Health Board. This grant funding and sponsorship support have no effect on editorial consideration in Native News Online.
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