Oglala Sioux Tribe lockdown lifted; President Bear Runner suspended

President Bear Runner speaks from his office, asking the public to sign a petition asking for FEMA aid. Image Courtesy of President Julian Bear Runner

President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Julian Bear Runner made an executive order for a 72 hour lockdown on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The reservation went into a temporary lockdown on Monday, which has since been lifted, although the shelter-in-place (SIP) still stands. The tribal council met to discuss when and how to lift the lockdown, and the possibility of future lockdowns. In their decision to rescind the presidents order, many constituents and council members cited there being little to no collaboration or communication with elected leaders regarding the lockdown. A tribal and COVID task force have been working to plan what steps would be taken in the case of a breakout on Pine Ridge, and how to ensure the safely of all residents. Individual districts have also appointed local task forces to keep smaller communities safe from the effects of COVID-19. Oglala Sioux Tribe councilwoman, Nakina Mills said,

“The discussion has been directed toward, more toward the smaller communities, or the districts. So if there’s a huge spread in the districts or the community, then districts or communities can decide, “okay, yeah, so we’ve reached this, we’re gonna close our community down.”

Taking into consideration the many task forces in Pine Ridge, Mills says a lock down could look different across the reservation. Wounded Knee and La Creek have already put their own border monitoring and lockdown procedures to work.

Along with lifting the reservation lockdown, the council motioned to suspend President Bear Runner for the next 30 days, with 14 days being spent in quarantine. The motion stated:

Based upon the Presidents whereabouts being unknown after issuing an Executive order for immediate lockdown, Ms. Robin Tapio motioned to suspend for 30 days with pay to rethink, revisualize, and restructure his outlook on the direction the tribe is going and that he quarantine 14 days and second by Mr. Randy Lays Bad.

The council has not discussed whether or not further action would be taken regarding the President, but Mills does say that the separations of powers between the council, executive committee and the President must be improved. Aside from the lockdown and the presidents suspension, all ordinances including the curfew, border monitoring, and quarantine order will remain in effect.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News