Tribal Issues

COVID-19 test kit.
CDC

Blackfeet tribal leaders announced a second lab-confirmed case of the COVID-19 illness Saturday night.

Blackfeet COVID-19 Incident Command posted to Facebook that Blackfeet Community Hospital received the positive test and that the patient is quarantined and under surveillance.

COVID-19 test kit.
CDC

Native American tribes are taking varied approaches to Gov. Steve Bullock’s announcement Wednesday that Montana will lift the statewide stay at home order.

Some plan to align local restrictions with the state, while others will forge their own path.

A federal judge in Montana Thursday heard arguments but made no ruling on tribes’ suit to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The hearing was part of an ongoing lawsuit the Fort Belknap Indian community in Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota brought against developer TC Energy and President Donald Trump.

A photo of Prairiedawn Thunderchild, Tahnee Thunderchild, Lance Fourstar, Catherine Bear, Delberta Eagleman, Angeline Cheek, Vermae Taylor and Cheyenne Foote taken Apr. 14, 2020.
Curtis Yaz

 Updated 04/15/20, 6:10 p.m.

A federal judge Thursday will consider tribes’ request to put a hold on oil pipeline construction in northeastern Montana in light of coronavirus concerns.

Tribal members gathered this week in Phillips County to protest the ongoing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

A welcome sign for Crow Country.
Olivia Reingold / Yellowstone Public Radio

Montana’s tribal nations say their first responders and medical professionals are short on equipment needed to protect health care workers from the coronavirus.

The tribal seal for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
Little Shell Tribe / Montana Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians

The Indian Health Service is facilitating coronavirus testing in tribal communities across the United States and in Montana. 

After receiving pressure from congressional lawmakers, the Indian Health Service is providing some members of the U.S. Senate with redacted report on its response to a former doctor’s abuse patients in Montana and South Dakota. Released this week, the document details the failed oversight on former doctor Stanley Patrick Weber as he abused young Native-American boys.

A press release from the Crow Tribe Executive Branch announcing an emergency declaration due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Crow Tribe Executive Branch / Twitter


Multiple tribes in Montana declared states of emergency over the weekend following the confirmation of six presumptive COVID-19 cases in the state.

The state Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force has awarded its first $25,000 grant to Blackfeet Community College to develop what will be the first piece in a statewide tribal network tracking missing Native American persons.

Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio


As organizations on the Crow Reservation in south-central Montana prepare coronavirus contingency plans, some tribal members say the threat of coronavirus is still too distant to be an immediate source of concern.

 

Yellowstone Public Radio News reports Crow tribal government is in contact with state public health officials and, like other tribes in the state, are preparing for the possibility of the coronavirus reaching their communities.

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