North Dakota, Minnesota tribes set curfews, stay-at-home orders amid coronavirus outbreak

USA

Curfews from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. have been imposed on the Turtle Mountain and Spirit Lake reservations in northeast North Dakota and also on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate’s Lake Traverse Reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.

So far, the Fort Berthold and Standing Rock reservations haven’t ordered curfews, although casinos on all of the reservations in both states are shuttered.

Scott Davis, executive director of the North Dakota’s Indian Affairs Commission, delivered medical supplies including masks, gloves and aprons to reservations this past week and said he and Gov. Doug Burgum have been holding weekly discussions with tribal leaders across the state about the situation.

All reservations have clinics, with two of the tribes operating hospitals at Fort Yates on the Standing Rock reservation and Belcourt at Fort Berthold. Sioux County has a confirmed case, as does 5 of the 6 counties that Fort Berthold overlaps.

WDAY logo

listen live

watch live

Norm McCloud, a spokesman for Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Mark Fox, said Fort Berthold created a 15-member task force to prepare.

At Standing Rock, Chairman Mike Faith Jr. set up an incident command system.

On the Sisseton-Wahpeton reservation, the tribal council met Friday to discuss the situation further. The curfew there starts later on the weekends at 11 p.m. Calls to officials there for information after the meeting weren’t returned.

On the Minnesota side, the state’s largest reservation — White Earth — that covers 1,300 square miles had its first confirmed case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, reported Thursday in Mahnomen County. The individual was in self-quarantine for 14 days.

In a message from Emergency Management Team leader Ed Snetsinger on Facebook, he said the case “will not be the last and it’s why we must continue to practice safe habits like hand washing and staying home per state and tribal orders.”

He said they have established a “one-call center” at 218-936-2774 to answer general questions about the virus and supportive services such as mental health and nursing care.

The tribe closed the popular Shooting Star Casinos more than a week ago in Mahnomen and Bagley. However, kitchens were a busy place with workers preparing 1,000 meals a day for tribal elders since Monday.

“We must come together as a community to slow the impact of COVID-19,” said Scott Stevens, general manager of Shooting Star Casino, in a statement. “In times like these, we discover our true strengths. We must help our neighbors. No one is alone.”

Shooting Star Casino and its hotel will remain closed until at least April 1 with employees being compensated throughout the two-week closure.

On another northern Minnesota reservation, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians’ council this week passed the nighttime curfew for residents for 30 days, with exceptions for people going to and from work and for medical purposes. Those violating the curfew face citations from Red Lake Police Department.

The tribe said on Friday that they were encouraging residents to stay home. An emergency number was released at 218-679-1119.

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin signed a stay-at-home executive order this week, with the same rules implemented statewide. The executive order didn’t limit the rights of tribal members to engage in ceremonial or religious activities nor does it impact gathering and harvesting of food and medicines for traditional purposes.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status.

Leave a Reply