Story at a glance

  • The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe will turn away tourists to prevent the spread of the coronavirus throughout the reservation.
  • This follows the Cheyenne River and Ogala Sioux Tribes' conflict with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem regarding the legality of the traffic checkpoints.

As hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists and motorsport enthusiasts are descending into Sturgis, S.D., for the city’s annual motorcycle festival, they will be denied access through the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s Reservation in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the Cheyenne River Reservation authorities will not allow tourists attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to pass through the territory’s checkpoints.

Speaking with the Journal, tribal spokesperson Remi Bald Eagle said that the new regulation is part of the Cheyenne Sioux River Tribe’s policies to prevent COVID-19 infections and reduce transmission.


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Commercial energy vehicles will still be allowed to pass. Through the tribe’s current policies, nonresidential, nonessential vehicles will be rejected at the checkpoints. Essential vehicles will be permitted through. 

While data indicates that there are only 15 active coronavirus cases on the Cheyenne River Reservation, Native American tribes across the U.S. have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, suffering from dwindling and inadequate resources with which to battle the virus.

This has prompted the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to establish checkpoints at entrance locations to the reservation as a means to control the spread of the virus into Native American territory. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) opposed this move, saying the checkpoints are unlawful and demanded that they be removed.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe sued the federal government to keep its checkpoints, citing what they called Noem’s inappropriate request for federal assistance.


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Published on Aug 10, 2020