Due to a wholly inadequate federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, it has largely been up to states to execute their own plans to protect residents. State responses have varied widely, largely divided by party line: Democratic governors have imposed more restrictions and protections, while Republican governors have tended toward looser regulations and a “decide for yourself” mentality. South Dakota is one of just eight states whose governors chose not to issue stay-at-home orders. As a result, two South Dakota tribes, the Cheyenne River Sioux and Oglala Sioux Tribes, have taken matters into their own hands when it comes to protecting their members and their land from the deadly virus, setting up checkpoints on roads leading to their reservations. Now, Gov. Kristi Noem is threatening to take legal action against the tribes if they do not remove the checkpoints, continuing her history of antagonizing Native people in her state.
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