Let’s check in with Dollar Store Sarah Palin, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. She’s lifting the stay-at-home order for the over-65 in Sioux Falls, epicenter of the outbreak and home of the Smithfield Foods COVID cluster, even though the state is still on the upward part of their COVID curve. She’s also in a very public fight with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) and the Ogalala Sioux Tribe, demanding that they remove checkpoints from state and federal highways running through those reservations.
The tribes’ response to Dollar Store Sarah has been basically fuck and you. They consider themselves sovereign nations when it’s in their interest, and when you are running a 10,000 member nation that has an eight-bed hospital, one respiratory therapist and a three-hour drive to the nearest referral hospital, you damn well aren’t letting any COVID in. Here’s CRST tribal chairman Harold Frazier’s statement:
… We will not apologize for being an island of safety in a sea of uncertainty and death… I absolutely agree that we need to work together during this time of crisis, however you continuing to interfere in our efforts to do what science and facts dictate seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation.
Frazier’s action has been backed by a group of state legislators, including the two pictured below, who reiterate that the state doesn’t have jurisdiction on tribal land, and also criticize Dollar Store Sarah for basically gunning for a fight.
I’ve heard from different people who wonder what Noem will do. My answer: she will do nothing more than flap her gums and flash her crazy eyes on the TeeVee. The South Dakota state highway patrol, her “army”, has 189 officers. There are a few more state officers at the DCI, but that’s it. Probably 200 on a good day. I guess if she wants to really make headlines, she’ll call out the National Guard, but I’d hate to fight against a well-armed group of Native Americans when they hold all the high ground on the few roads into the rez. It would be a bloodbath. Who knows, maybe Noem’s buddy Trump will call out the FBI and the Marshals and we’ll have the COVID equivalent of the 1973 Wounded Knee standoff. All because the tribes decided to stop a few cars on the highway and tell them to drive through without stopping if they don’t have business on the rez. Fucking stupid, but that’s where we are in Trumpville 2020.