Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Indianz.Com Live: Bryan Brewer of Oglala Sioux Tribe
Posted: July 1, 2020

Bryan Brewer, a former president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, joined Kevin Abourezk of Indianz.Com for a live broadcast on June 30, 2020.

Brewer discussed plans to protect coronavirus checkpoints on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He cited concerns about other parties, including the state of South Dakota and the federal government, attempting to prevent his tribe from ensuring outsiders don’t increase the number of COVID-19 infections.

“Our tribe is being criticized for our checkpoints but i really have to say that I believe it’s working,” Brewer said via phone from the reservation.

According to state data, there have been 85 COVID-19 cases in Oglala Lakota County, which encompasses the reservation. All but 37 have recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus. More than 2,000 tests have returned negative.

Brewer also talked about Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to sacred Paha Sapa, or the Black Hills, which were promised to the Sioux Nation by treaty. He cited fears among has people that Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who opposes the coronavirus checkpoints, might use the occasion to bring even more negative attention to the tribe.

“We pray that nothing happens,” Brewer said on the broadcast. “This is why we have to be out here and protect our borders.”

Trump and Noem will be participating in an Independence Day fireworks event at Mount Rushmore, where such displays are normally not allowed, on July 3. The federally-managed facility is located on treaty territory in Paha Sapa.

“We have four presidents carved in our sacred Black Hills, presidents who have a history of everything that’s been done to destroy the Indian people,’ Brewer said of Mount Rushmore.


Join the Conversation