Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > City of Seattle (Washington)
Posted: May 19, 2020

The city council and the mayor of Seattle, Washington, sent a letter to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) on May 18, 2020.

The letter expresses support for coronavirus checkpoints established by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. It calls on Noem to respect their territorial sovereignty.

“COVID-19 honors no boundaries – national, state, local, or tribal. It is an insidious disease that transcends geographic demarcations,” the letter reads. “Your correspondence to Lakota Nation government officials suggesting that their infection prevention efforts interfere with traffic is untenable.”

The letter was signed by Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and all 9 members of the city council: Council President M. Lorena González, Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Councilmember Debora Juarez, Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis, Councilmember Tammy J. Morales, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Councilmember Alex Pedersen, Councilmember Kshama Sawant and Councilmember Dan Strauss. All are Democrats with the exception of Sawant, who affiliates with Socialist Alternative.

Councilmember Debora Juarez is a citizen of the Blackfeet Nation and the first Native American elected to the city’s governing board. She attached a message to the letter:

Dear Governor Kristi Noem,

I write to you today from Washington State as a member of Seattle City Council regarding South Dakota State restrictions on Native land.  Please find attached a letter signed May 18, 2020 by Seattle City Council and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in support of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, and Rosebud Sioux Tribe as they exercise Tribal sovereignty to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with security checkpoints for travelers.  COVID-19 honors no boundaries – national, state, local, or tribal.  Tribes already face chronically underfunded and understaffed healthcare systems and it is within their right and duty to protect their people at any point in time.  

The City of Seattle encourages your office to restore the inter-governmental collaboration and cooperation that our entire country needs right now.  Due to the fast-paced spread of this indiscriminate disease, the decisions of one government could very much impact us all.  To that end, if there is anything that the City of Seattle can do to help South Dakota or the Lakota Nations overcome COVID-19, please do not hesitate to let us know.

I look forward to a response from your office.  Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


Debora Juarez

Seattle City Councilmember, District 5

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