Tribal checkpoints dispute remains unresolved

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KWAT) — The COVID-19 pandemic raised a dispute between Governor Noem and two Indian tribes in South Dakota—a dispute that remains unresolved.

The Cheyenne River Sioux and Oglala Sioux tribes set up coronavirus checkpoints on state and federal highways on the two reservations, which Governor Noem has contended are illegal.

State Senator Lee Shoenbeck of Watertown, who’s a lawyer, says this disagreement has lingered to a point where it’s now a stare down to see, “who’s toughest.”

Schoenbeck sees other faults in these checkpoints.

He also questions the locations of some of the checkpoints guarding the road to Bridger.

The tribes have said they feel they have to be vigilant to protect tribal members who have underlying health problems, and rely on a fragile health care system.