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.

Support Independent Indigenous Journalism

Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission:  We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country.  We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online 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 journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff