The Cheyenne River Sioux checkpoints ought to stop a group of bikers, who are heading towards South Dakota’s 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. A spokesman of the Native American group made this statement. This decision was made to reduce the amount of traffic on tribal land. Indeed, it will stop all bikers from accessing the tribal zone. The rule is important because at least 25,000 bikers will be involved in the event. This could result in a major outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the rural regions. According to leaders, this rule plays an integral part in the COVID-19 Prevention Policy.
This policy focuses on seven different tribes. Each of these tribes plays an important role in the Great Sioux Nation, which stands against the Federal and State Government. Both the federal and state authorities claim the checkpoints to be illegal. When the Duty Officer of the Cheyenne River Sioux spoke to the Guardian, he said that only emergency and commercial vehicles will be allowed. This rule holds true for reservation land area too. Even when several bikers tried entering the reserved area, they were sent back. Oglala Sioux also sent several bikers away, especially those who routed towards the Sovereign Land.
The Real Rule
Before the current rule was passed, the Cheyenne River tribe didn’t allow outsiders to pass. In fact, the rally stops non-commercial vehicles from entering the land of South Dakota. They are not allowed to pass through the reserved land. These are stern rules, and no one is allowed to break them. Mainly because “masked” bikers can turn into a big threat, increasing the chances of COVID-19 spreading amongst the tribal communities. The tribal population is certainly going through a tough time. The number of COVID-19 cases in these regions are increasing, day after day.
A week ago, Oglala Sioux recorded more than 160 new cases. On the other hand, Cheyenne River Sioux recorded around 75+ cases. These numbers are officially published in the tribal website.
What do the bikers say?
Meanwhile, the bikers had a different opinion. They have expressed strong emotions of defiance. To be more precise, they are not appreciative of the rules and restrictions imposed because of COVID-19.
According to some sources, South Dakota ranks 39th in the list of regions most-affected by COVID-19. If the rally happens without much restrictions, these numbers will only increase. It would only be a matter of time before South Dakota turns into a hotspot.
Experts believe that the numbers will increase because more and more people will be cramped in the region. There will be concerts, which will be equally cramped. All of these are reasons why the number of COVID-19 cases are bound to increase.
Yet the bikers said, “Screw COVID.”
Stephen Sample from Arizona was an active participant of the rally. He claimed that the rally was a great way of breaking rules and regulations. It helped him and his Harley Davidson take a big break. Sample said, “I don’t want to die… I don’t want to be cooped in life.” During the process, he evaluated the total risk involved. Yet he still decided to join the rally, try his odds, and enjoy the bike ride. The idea of riding his motorcycle with a bunch of aficionados excited Sample.
Sample said, “We are all willing to take chances.” Nevertheless, he did acknowledge that the motorcycle ride could become a big mistake.
What did the Republicans Say?
Kristi Noem, the Republican Governor of South Dakota is in favor of the bikers. She claims that an outbreak didn’t happen with President Trump’s Mount Rushmore event, which happened last month.
More about the Rally
This year would mark the 80th anniversary of the rally. Technically, the event is capable of injecting $800 million into the state’s economy. It is going to include plenty of people, and lots of bikes. Eventually, it will translate to a good amount of money for the state’s economy. These words were shared by Rob Merwin, the Meade county sheriff. Merwin also revealed that his people are sick and tired of being held up by the pandemic.
The rest of the crowd says, “If I get it, I get it.”