South Dakota governor disputes Native American tribes’ COVID-19 checkpoints on highways

National News
Kristi Noem

FILE – In this Jan. 2019 file photo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Pierre, S.D. (AP Photo/James Nord, File)

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says that her stance against Native American tribes operating coronavirus checkpoints on federal and state highways isn’t just about the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s also about setting “precedent” on tribes’ ability to shut down traffic in other situations.

As construction related to the Keystone XL pipeline begins in South Dakota, the checkpoints add tension to an already-rocky relationship between the Republican governor and tribes that have been outspoken opponents of the pipeline.

Three tribes have set up the checkpoints to keep unnecessary visitors from the reservation who might be carrying coronavirus infections.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which has set up coronavirus checkpoints, does not allow vehicles from oil companies to pass through their land.

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