Leading up to this, a conflict had been brewing for months over the checkpoints, which are fiercely defended by tribal members and adamantly opposed by state as well as federal officials. “Astonishingly, the tribe’s efforts to protects its people with health safety checkpoints became a political flashpoint in the state of South Dakota, inspiring Gov. Kristi Noem to issue a series of ultimata to the tribe,” the lawsuit states. “When the tribe did not capitulate to Governor Noem’s demands, she escalated her offensive to the White House, seeking federal government assistance in her quest to shut down the tribe’s health safety checkpoints,” it documents.
HOT OFF THE COURT DOCKET!— indianz.com (@indianz) June 24, 2020
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe v. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States.@CRSTChairman v. @realDonaldTrump @POTUS @WhiteHouse @WilliamCrozer45
🔥 @bigfirelaw 🔥 pic.twitter.com/GXVJDxvJVW
Noem sent a letter to Trump on May 20 requesting that he unleash federal authority to remove the roadside health inspection stations. “Since Governor Noem’s White House plea, all named defendants have worked in concert, abusing the power of the federal government, to coerce the tribe to dismantle its comprehensive Covid-19 response plan, including shutting down the tribe’s health safety checkpoints,” the suit says. When that did not work, highly-placed Trump Administration officials finally threatened to punish the tribe by taking over its Public Law 93-638 contract with the federal government, – “imperiling tribal public safety as well as public health,” according to the lawsuit.
“We will not apologize for being an island of safety in a sea of uncertainty and death.”— indianz.com (@indianz) June 24, 2020
Citing "unlawful threats" to its sovereignty, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is suing Trump administration over #Coronavirus checkpoints on reservation.#COVID19 @CRSTChairman @bigfirelaw pic.twitter.com/f0E6rNAGvY
Meanwhile, at the time of filing, South Dakota -- one of five states that didn’t issue a shelter-in-place mandate -- had 6,353 confirmed cases and 83 deaths outside the boundaries of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. “The tribe’s health safety checkpoints are a lawful exercise of our sovereign authority and intended to protect our people from sickness and death. And it’s working,” said Ducheneaux, a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member and partner at Big Fire Law & Policy Group. Federal officials “have colluded to both coerce and punish the tribe for their checkpoints,” Ducheneaux said. “When the tribe informed White House and agency officials that they were not going to end their health checkpoints, the tribe’s law enforcement funding was pulled,” she said.
"Arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion": Read the full complaint in Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe v. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. #COVID19 #Coronavirus #Sovereignty #HonorTheTreaties@CRSTChairman @bigfirelawhttps://t.co/Th7r9I2xOt— indianz.com (@indianz) June 24, 2020