I write with unfortunate news: we’re now dealing with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus at Pine Ridge. We’re up to at least five positive tests here, a rapidly growing number that has forced a 72-hour lockdown.
This demonstrates why it’s absolutely critical that many of you have taken the time to tell South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem not to challenge our COVID-19 checkpoints. Fortunately, your pressure is working. You sent more than 15,000 emails to the governor, and she flinched — failing to follow through on her 48-hour legal deadline.
As Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner’s spokesperson and public relations director, protecting the people of this nation and sharing our stories are my sacred duties. I’m proud of the powerful conversation my president had last night with Don Lemon on CNN. Please watch and share it. We must continue to win the public education battle.
This outbreak is yet another demonstration of Governor Noem’s statewide policy failure with COVID-19. This is why we’ve taken matters into our own hands. We are so obviously on the right side of this that 17 state lawmakers, including a Republican, have penned an open letter to the governor in support of us. Even Fox News is having a hard time spinning this one in the governor’s favor.
I thank you, with all of my heart, for listening and acting in friendship with my relatives. If we stand our ground and keep the conversation going, we will prevail — over ignorance in our state capitol and over this pandemic.
Wopila — my sincere thanks for your attention,
Chase Iron Eyes
The Lakota People’s Law Project