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Northern Cheyenne President Declares Continued State of Emergency, Extends Restrictions

The tribal seal of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe
Northern Cheyenne Tribe
The tribal seal of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe

The Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana has declared a continued state of emergency until the number of COVID-19 cases in the area declines. Here's what this means for reservation residents.

On Oct. 5 President Rynalea Whiteman Pena of the Northern Cheyenne tribe issued an executive order extending the full lockdown of the reservation.

Residents are advised to continue avoiding nonessential daytime travel during the week. Nonessential travel remains completely prohibited under the order during a weeknight curfew, from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M., and during the weekend at all hours.

The complete weekend lockdown begins 6 A.M. on Oct. 10 and ends 6 A.M., Oct. 12. The lockdown and curfew were put in place Sept. 23.

Tribal leadership said the current Stay At Home order will remain in place until there are 50 or fewer confirmed active coronavirus cases on the reservation for a full 30 days. The curfew and weekend lockdowns may also be extended until this goal is achieved. The order said the curfew will remain in place until public health officials recommend ending it.

There are currently sixty five active COVID-19 cases on the reservation.

Tribal leadership advised reservation residents to complete their shopping before the weekend lockdown and to avoid any non essential travel.

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) police are enforcing the curfew and lockdown. BIA road checkpoints have been in place on the reservation since Aug. 7. BIA officers issued 20 citations this month to violators of the emergency order.

The Northern Cheyenne tribe and Big Horn County have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. At least 24 Northern Cheyenne tribal members have died since the pandemic began.

Kaitlyn Nicholas covers tribal news in Montana.