June 24: The Interior Department issues the following statement: "The primary focus for Indian Affairs continues to be public safety across Indian Country, including on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. The tribe says the letter was a surprise considering recent talks with the Interior. Here's a closer look at events that have unfolded in South Dakota: April 1: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier deputizes more than a dozen officers to assist with checkpoints, according to the West River Eagle. Unfortunately, the tribes have continued to operate checkpoints on State and US highways. 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May 20: Noem sends a letter to Trump and other federal officials asking them to get involved. We're here to help. Noem letter to Representative Dusty Johnson, May 20, 2020; Gov. South Dakota's governor on Tuesday offered what appeared to be an attempted compromise to at least one Native American tribe in a disagreement over tribes' coronavirus checkpoints. PIERRE, S.D.- South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety has released the September sobriety checkpoint list which calls for 19 checkpoints to be done in 15 counties statewide. It is to be assumed that you will be rerouted. June 13: Sweeney threatens to take over the tribe's law enforcement contract because of technical non-compliance related to law enforcement human resource files, according to lawsuit. May 9: A group of more than a dozen bipartisan state lawmakers writes a letter to Noem, saying the state “has no jurisdiction over the highways running through Indian lands in the state without tribal consent.” The letter also cites the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties. Noem letter to President Trump, May 20, 2020; Gov. The staff was permitted to review law enforcement officers under the tribe's law enforcement contract with the federal government, but not checkpoint monitors who are not employed as part of the contract. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has rejected an ultimatum by South Dakota's governor to remove checkpoints on state highways within tribal reservations or risk legal action. In the letter, she gave the tribe about 48 hours to disband the checkpoints to ensure the tribe can continue its current law enforcement contract. It is not in the best interest of the Tribe, State, or Federal government to have individuals falsely representing themselves as law enforcement, as proper training, background investigations and other protocols should be followed to ensure public safety. June 7: The Interior Department tells the tribe that the BIA is "contemplating emergency reassumption" of the tribe's law enforcement contract on grounds that checkpoint monitors were not properly deputized and were not properly trained, according to lawsuit. It says tribes have authority to restrict or close their own roads, but when it comes to state or federal highways, they must consult with those governments. Gov. Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States May 26: A South Dakota man faces charges for allegedly disregarding instructions after stopping at a Cheyenne River Sioux checkpoint, according to a KELO report. June 22: Office of Justice Services Deputy Director Charles Addington sends letter to Frazier, demanding that the tribe pull tribal police department staff from service if they had not completed a background check and threatening "immediate emergency reassumption" if it failed to do so within in 24 hours, according to the lawsuit. June 17: Interior and White House officials contact Frazier to reiterate the government's objection to the checkpoints and to instruct the tribe to take them down for various technological support, according to the lawsuit. June 15: Frazier and other staff members join a call with Birx, Sweeney and other White House staff. June 9: The BIA send staff from the Interior's Office of Justice Services to the tribe's police headquarters to search for deficiencies in the background investigation and basic training for checkpoint monitors, according to lawsuit. "Dear President Trump": First Kristi Noem made a legal threat. Indian Country Today will continue to follow this story. April 8: The Bureau of Indian Affairs issues a memorandum containing guidance on tribal checkpoints. Frazier did not agree to dismantle checkpoints or further consult with the state. Kristi Noem’s handling of a conflict over coronavirus checkpoints set up by tribes. Kristi Noem gives her first budget address to lawmakers at the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D. Since April, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Oglala Sioux Tribes have maintained highway checkpoints on state and federal roads in an effort to ward off the coronavirus pandemic. (Related story: South Dakota congressmen seek federal guidance on checkpoints). June 10: Sweeney sends the tribe a letter accusing it of being out of compliance with its law enforcement contract on "numerous instances" where checkpoint workers presented themselves as tribal police officers, according to lawsuit. Noem, a Republican, threatened legal action in early May, then asked Trump to intervene. On Facebook, he shares a brief daily coronavirus-related update that is broadcasted on KIPI-FM 93.5. She says ranchers and workers have been delayed at the checkpoints, and state employees have been required to get tribal permits to pass. July 21: South Dakota lawmakers called for formal consultation processes between tribal and state governments following Gov. May 19: Frazier appears on Indian Country Today’s broadcast. A standoff over safety and sovereignty is intensifying in South Dakota.. Two Indigenous tribes there, the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Oglala Sioux, established checkpoints on roads leading into their territories, ensuring all those seeking entry onto tribal lands are traveling for an approved, essential reason and don’t exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
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