Native Americans feel vulnerable as soon as South Dakota takes a hands-off approach to coronovirus

In the early weeks of the epidemic, the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe in South Dakota resorted to drastic measures to prevent the spread of the coracles and spread the prairie lands.

The tribe set up checkpoints in April through Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation to establish part of a strong contact tracing program to limit drivers without official business in the roadways.

“We are doing this to save our residents, their lives,” tribal chairman Harold Frazier told NPR in May, when there was just one case of Kovid-19 on the reservation, where about 12,000 people live.

Even as the case numbers remained low, tribal authorities implemented the mask mandate in the summer and carried out large-scale trial programs. And after South Dakota transitioned to record numbers this month, Frazier on Monday began a 10-day lockout of the remote city of Eagle Batte, where the tribe’s headquarters are located.

Harold Frazier, president of the Chien River Sioux Tribe.Cliff Owen / AP File

South Dakota Village. Christie Noam has overseen the epidemic in her state of about 8,000,000 residents, efforts to the contrary are swift.

Noyem, a Republican, has avoided statewide facade mandates, lockouts and the closure or banning of businesses and churches. She said in a message last week that “we will not stop or discourage you from thanking God or spending time with this thanksgiving” – a generous message compared to most other state leaders who have implemented the curfew, Stay -A few orders and restrictions on indoor ceremonies due to increasing case numbers across the country.

Full coverage of coronavirus outbreaks

Noam has also criticized the outposts established by the Cheyenne River Sioux, as well as other Native American tribes in the state. In May, it asked the Trump administration to help intervene in an agreement to allow outposts on tribal roads, but not without state and federal reservations.

Tribal members and other indigenous-led groups in South Dakota say the lack of widespread action – and the over-demonstration of protest – on behalf of the state and some local officials stand to reduce their tribal sovereignty and create a sharp public Strive to protect his people. Health crisis.

Although the total number of new Kovid-19 infections has decreased in recent times, as it hit a record of more than 2,000 positive cases in South Dakota on November 12, the country also has the highest rate of positivity and per capita deaths this week. . According to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s like we’re stuck in a house in a fire, and we’re doing our best to get it out,” said Remy Bald Eagle, spokesman for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. “We see incendiary vaccines coming as a vaccine, and we are thinking that if it reaches here before time, the fire will burn us down.”

A disproportionate effect

Aboriginal health officials say there are more than 1,100 cases of Kovid-19 in the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, which are caused by coronoviruses.

Statewide, Native Americans have been the hardest hit of any ethnic or racial group: while they make up only 9 percent of the population, they represent 14 percent of all cases and 15 percent of all deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. We do.

Bald Eagle said many Aboriginal members had already been diagnosed with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and had limited access to health care on the reservation, which is partly one of the worst counties in the country is.

The Tribe has scrambled to install some of the makeshift beds and units in the hotel and bingo halls, to complement the eight hospital beds at Cheyenne River Health Center, an Indian healthcare facility. The nearest large hospitals in Rapid City and Bismarck in North Dakota are two to three hours away, and health care professionals in South Dakota have warned of an excessive health system.

A disturbing disconnect between some patients has also surfaced. A South Dakota Emergency Room Nurse Tweet went viral Later this month she said she encountered people who died of Kovid-19, who did not believe the virus was real.

Bald Eagle said the tribes have a lot to lose if they neglect science or take a hands-on approach, as the state has largely done.

“Some of those who died were our elders,” he said. “They are some of our magnificent treasures. When they die, they carry with us our language and our culture and our heritage, and we will not get that back.”

Gov. Christie Nome speaks during an event on July 3 at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, SD.Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Image

The governor’s office responded at a news conference last week citing Noam’s comments in which he encouraged hand washing and social distance.

“I have consistently said that people who want to wear masks should wear masks, and people should not be ashamed because they choose not to,” Noam said.

The South Dakota State Medical Association said in a statement that it supports a statewide mask mandate: “Masks work to reduce the risk of infection for everyone.”

Garrison dispute

Tensions between tribes in South Dakota and Noam have increased as outposts have expanded.

In June, the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe accused the federal government of its power, endorsing the tribe to end the Kovid-19 response plan, including its outposts, since Noam’s plea for the White House’s help. Is misused.

“Both threatened monetary penalties and forcible disbandment of the tribe’s law enforcement program,” the complaint alleged in the complaint.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has established nine health safety checkpoints along the roads entering its reservation in South Dakota.Chairman Harold Frazier, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Noam has said that South Dakota has rights that allow residents and commuters to access roadways and that the federal government also has an “interest in interstate commerce.” But the tribe argues that it has jurisdiction over the state, and a 1990 appeals court ruling stated that the state does not have control over roadways that cut through native land without the consent of the tribal.

The lawsuit continues, and the tribe plans to respond to the federal government’s request in the coming days to dismiss the tribe’s plan, said Nicole Ducheno, a tribal member and attorney. Meanwhile, there remain nine outposts of the tribe.

Download the NBC News app for the latest news on coronavirus

“We are inexplicably weak, and the state that surrounds us and the federal government that is supposed to protect us has decided to raise a small political agenda on human life,” Duchenko said. “In the comprehensive scheme of things, it was not long ago that my people witnessed horrific disease and death, which destroyed our population, destabilized our society and nearly wiped us out. If it was our sovereign of self-rule Were it not for the powers that be, we would be at the mercy of Donald Trump and Christie Nome, a disaster in proportion to the possible existence for their people. “

A spokesman for the Interior Department, named in the suit, said tribal leaders were to follow federal rules shared in early April on what actions to take to restrict access to roadways within or across reservations .

The federal government sought to dismiss the tribe’s lawsuit in part because, it said, “there was no background check and / or basic police training of illegally deputed persons.”

Camp crack

The worsening epidemic has spared other Native American groups in South Dakota with local governments.

In October, police in the state’s second-largest city, Rapid City, ordered the dismantling of an outdoor colony – Camp Maniluzahn – where shelters and food were provided to Native Americans struggling with narcotics and other hardships.

Police cited five volunteers, known as the Creek Patrol, for obstructing and resisting arrest. A sixth person using the camp was also cited. City officials said the camp was held without proper permits in an area considered a flood zone. The camp has since moved from public property to land jointly by the Ogla, Rosebud and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes.

Rapid City Mayor Steve Olender said he did not support the camp, and he was under stress last month.

“According to Rapid City’s NBC affiliate NBBN,” over the past month every conversation about the homeless has been combined with phrases like ‘stolen ground’ and ‘breach of treaty’ and ‘regaining ground’. “” And so it appears that there is something much larger at hand than a shelter for the homeless. “

Mark Tilsen, a Creek Patrol volunteer and member of the Ogala Lakota, said local government lacks enough social services or support that Native Americans have to contend with historically inadequate resources.

The new location of the camp, which offers the Kovid-19 test, helps 30 to 60 people daily, Tilson said.

“We are basically banding together to solve our problems,” said Tilson, a credit to the efforts of previous generations of natives volunteers and activists. “We are lucky that we have found a way that the city cannot interfere with our work.”

Natalie Stites, a director of local food for Native American families and a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, said she worries that the disproportionate effects of coronoviruses on Hindu communities are only going to worsen in the coming weeks as Laksh Of attitude.

“I am not counting to do anything in the administration of Nome,” Means said. “We are on our own.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *