Regarding Sioux Falls

👏 Tell South Dakota: public safety now!
Thu, Apr 23, 2020 4:31 pm
Madonna Thunder Hawk, Lakota Law ( Details

I hope you’re staying safe! Here in South Dakota, it’s getting crazier by the day. Governor Kristi Noem refuses to implement common sense rules to protect the people of her state — and among those most vulnerable are 72,000 Native people representing nine different tribal nations. Right now, Sioux Falls is home to one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation, yet Governor Noem has failed to issue a general stay-at-home order, hasn’t shut down nonessential businesses, and has begun using some of the city’s workers as hydroxychloroquine guinea pigs.

Please send an email to Governor Noem and tell her to stop putting Native American lives at risk. Tell her to issue a shelter-in-place mandate and shut down nonessential businesses right now — including Keystone XL pipeline construction.

Lakota Law
Watch our new video, in which Chase Iron Eyes gives context and Rachel Maddow details the horrific situation in Sioux Falls.

As Standing Rock’s Robert White Mountain recently shared with you, Governor Noem has also failed to issue statewide suspensions of utility shut-offs and evictions, forcing Native families into the streets in sub-freezing temperatures during the pandemic. Her willful ignorance of recommendations by medical professionals puts our tribal nations — where public health infrastructure is already often lacking — in extreme jeopardy. Both Pine Ridge and Standing Rock have positive cases. An uncontrolled spread among our people would be devastating.

Here at Cheyenne River, we’ve taken matters into our own hands by closing off roads into the reservation. So far it is working, but we can’t protect ourselves for long if South Dakota’s chief executive continues taking her queues from Trump.

The White House is largely at fault for inadequate testing and shortages of personal protective equipment. While the president calls to reopen the economy and praises oblivious protesters ignoring social distancing rules, only one percent of the U.S. population has been tested for COVID-19. Experts agree that the pathway to recovery includes testing millions of Americans every day.

Only five states in the country remain without stay-at-home orders, all here in the heartland, all with conservative governors. An extreme outlier and part of a renegade, right-wing movement to ignore science at the expense of (disproportionately Brown and Black) lives, Noem must hear the truth.

In solidarity,

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

P.S. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s failure to protect tribal citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak is a dangerous disgrace! Tell her to shut down nonessential work and to mandate all other necessary precautions today.


Lakota People's Law Project

Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

The Lakota People’s Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.

Tribal casinos are ineligible for payroll help


Federal rules: Tribal casinos are ineligible for payroll help



“Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation President Bernadine Burnette closed the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort last month. Casinos with less than 500 employees are making the case to be included in the government’s payroll protection plan. (Photo by Patty Talahongva, Indian Country Today)

Mark Trahant

‘Congress said ‘any’ small business can get paycheck protection for its people, the SBA has no right to say anything less to small tribal gaming businesses’ * Updated 12 MST
President Donald Trump has been clear about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration announced further details on the Paycheck Protection Program, which was made possible by the 2-trillion-dollar relief bill I signed into law last week,” he said at a White House briefing. “Nearly $350 billion in loans will soon be available through lending partners to help small businesses meet payroll and other expenses for up to two months. These loans will be forgiven as long as businesses keep paying their workers. This includes sole proprietors and independent contractors.”

However there remains uncertainty about whether tribal enterprises — namely casinos that employ less than 500 people — will even qualify for the program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (or CARES act).