Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Eagle Butte
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Chairman daily address: Our checkpoints are saving lives and no one’s going to do it but us


In his daily brief, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier said the Cheyenne River Health Center has administered 343 coronavirus tests and as of today there still only remains one positive result that was detected last month. There are 685 test kits available and the Eagle Butte Service Unit is doing mass testing on essential personnel and businesses who have employees who interact directly with the public.

Tribal law enforcement and medical personnel have also been tested, said Chairman Frazier.

Three weeks have passed since the first COVID-19 case was reported on Cheyenne River and since then, the patient has been released from hospital and is now home. The Chairman said he, the tribal council, and the medical team are in discussions about the possibility of moving back down to Level 2 of the CRST COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan.

The move would mean curfew would end, however, public health checkpoints would remain in place including mandated closures of all daycares and tribal health clinics.

The chairman did announce new curfew hours which go into effect tonight. The hours are changed from 8 p.m. – 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. Curfew violations will result in civil penalties of $25 for the first violation; $50 for the second violation; and $500 for the third violation.

Radio host Dr. Michael Loescher asked the tribal leader his reaction to news that Governor Kristi Noem is asking the federal government to intervene in the checkpoint saga. In her press conference yesterday, the governor announced that the State of South Dakota turned over affidavits and videos of the “unlawful” checkpoints set up by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

The White House, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the South Dakota Congressional delegation received the evidence collected by the State, said Noem.

“It really doesn’t matter. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. We’re going to keep continuing on. All things we are doing so far is working. We definitely can’t let our guard down,” said Frazier.

Dr. Loescher asked the chairman about the easement permits that the State has posted on covid.sd.gov and what easements mean legally?

“An easement doesn’t give up ownership of the roads. I don’t want to say too much about the legal thing in case we go to court. When you’re playing cards, you don’t want to show your hand,” replied the chairman.

As far as the public health checkpoints, Chairman Frazier said, “We don’t have a choice when it comes to what we’re doing. Our checkpoints are saving lives and no one’s going to do it but us.”