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Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Files Lawsuit Against President

South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations

In order to maintain the safety of their tribal members against the Covid-19 pandemic, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe recently filed suit against the President Donald Trump, his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and variety of other federal officials for their abuse of federal authority to have the tribe remove their health screening checkpoints upon entry to the reservation.

The law firm Big Fire Law and Policy are representing the tribe. The lawsuit alleges the White House and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) launched a campaign against the tribe after Governor Kristi Noem appealed to the President after the tribes refused her requests to remove the checkpoints.

The lawsuit was Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and describes how government officials such as the president’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have colluded to both coerce and punish the Tribe for their checkpoints.

The attorney for Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe says in a statement: “The Tribe filed this suit because the White House and the BIA are pursuing a political agenda that is not only threatening our lives during this pandemic. Nicole Ducheneaux, also member of the tribe, says “it is a gross violation of the United States’ solemn trust duty to the Tribe.”

The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation encompasses the poorest county in the United States and the members that live there suffer heightened rates from COVID-19 and lack adequate access to health care.

Ducheneaux continues in her statement - “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.” She went on to say, “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 in middle of the coronavirus pandemic leaving an already vulnerable population deal with yet another health and safety crisis.”

In a past interview with Chairman Harold Frazier, he said these health screening checkpoints are the tribes’ only line of defense against the coronavirus and until there is a vaccine, he will keep the checkpoints.