NCAI Stands with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and other South Dakota Tribal Nations in the Protection of Citizens from COVID-19 Pandemic

Published on May 13, 2020

The National Congress of American Indians stands with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in its efforts to protect its citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the core attributes tribal nations retain as governments is the authority to exclude. NCAI urges the State of South Dakota, and all other states, to work with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations on local solutions that work for all, and which are respectful of the inherent governing authority of Indian tribes.

NCAI reminds the governors of each state that treaty rights and rights to regulate reservation lands represent those self-governing rights which were never ceded and which preexist the United States. Further, states should understand that tribal nations often have limited resources and face other unique challenges, such as historic trauma resulting from prior foreign-born illnesses and diseases, demographics that include a large percentage of high-risk individuals susceptible to COVID-19 complications, and lack of adequate healthcare facilities. During this current environment, we urge states to support tribal priorities to respond to this pandemic and to take active efforts to protect their citizens.

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