Don’t Threaten Native Americans Over COVID-19 Protections

Target: Kristi Noem, Governor of South Dakota

Goal: Withdraw threat to sue sovereign tribal nations for imposing checkpoints and protections against the spread of coronavirus.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has threatened to sue the leaders of the Cheyenne River Sioux and Oglala Sioux Nations if they don’t lift checkpoints at the Cheyenne and Pine Ridge Reservations. Tribal leaders installed these checkpoints to turn away travelers on non-essential business and to maintain an accurate appraisal of coronavirus within the reservations. Governor Noem, a Trump supporter whose past hostility towards the Oglala resulted in her being banned from Pine Ridge, attempted to strong-arm leaders, despite having failed to emplace even the most basic protections for South Dakotans outside of the reservations.

As federally-recognized tribes, both the Cheyenne River and Oglala Sioux are well within their rights to protect their members as they see fit, and they have no obligation to listen to the illegal demands of a state governor. Both tribes have refused to cooperate, but Noem hasn’t withdrawn her demands. Sign the petition below to demand that Governor Noem withdraw her insulting and invalid threat to these sovereign tribes.


Dear Governor Noem,

Tribal leaders on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne Reservations have struggled for years with inadequate medical infrastructure, forcing them to take precautions to prevent a devastating outbreak of coronavirus in their communities. Although your illegal and offensive demands to the governments of the Oglala and Cheyenne River Sioux have been rightly rejected, you have persisted in demanding that they remove checkpoints that may well be saving lives.

I demand that you cease your attempts to force these sovereign peoples into opening their land rather than protect their people. You have no legal or moral right to continue to insult these nations this way.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Pete Markham


One Comment

  1. Jennifer Day says:

    We need to protect these people the most!!! It’s there land we took from them it’s crazy to disrespect these people!! Help them now!!! We must treat them better!!!
    Help them NOW!!

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