At least two Tribal governments enforcing COVID ‘road checks’

PIERRE, S.D. (SDBA) – At least two Tribal governments in South Dakota are now enforcing COVID ‘road checks’ upon entering reservation boundaries in the state.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe in southwestern South Dakota and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in central and northwestern South Dakota have both set up roadside checkpoints for vehicles entering reservation boundaries.

But the tribal checkpoints are not ‘roadblocks’ and authorities are not using road spikes or forcing vehicles off the road, says one tribal law enforcement official.

CRST Law Enforcement Chief Charles LeCompte of Eagle Butte says he’s heard stories floating around social media that US Highway 212 has been shut down or that rocks are being thrown at vehicles.

LeCompte says those stories “are not true” and that his office has no reports of such events.

LeCompte says his officers are stopping vehicles but denies that travelers passing through the reservation are being turned around or traffic flow disrupted.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has set up a COVID task force and is hiring additional deputies for the duration of the emergency.  CRST Deputies will work 12 hours shifts at check points and assist in distributing food supplies.

Oglala Sioux Tribal Law Enforcement did not return calls for comment.