Dealing with COVID-19 on the Rosebud Reservation

Local News

Recent CDC studies show Native Americans are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes than any other minority group.

Todd County has reported 28 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic first started.

A lot of the people who died were on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, which forced tribal leaders to enact tight restrictions that remain in place yet today.

“It’s been so hard,”

26 members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe have died due to Covid.

“We can’t do any of our cultural stuff,” Rosebud Reservation Priest Lauren Stanley said.

Pow-Wows have been shut down, a curfew from midnight to 6:00 a.m. remains in place, and classrooms are still closed.

“Our children are not in school, because it’s unsafe and it’s weighing heavily on them,” Stanley said.

The reservation is not in a complete lockdown, but at times they say it feels like it.

“The numbers are going down,” Rosebud Sioux Tribe Health Director Skyla Fast Horse said.

Rosebud Sioux Tribe Health Director, Skyla Fast Horse, says the restrictions are extreme, but they appear to be working.

“Thus far we have zero cases, but per week we get one or two,” Fast Horse said.

Masks are mandatory. So far they’ve handed out over 10,000 of them.

“We take them to the shelters, we give them out at church, we give them to church people, we give them to our wandering souls, because they always seem to lose their masks,” Stanley said.

Tribal members are receiving the vaccine, administering 30-40 doses a day, but not everyone wants to participate.

“I’d like to encourage our tribal members to come on their own merit to receive the vaccine to try and decrease the infections out there,” Fast Horse said.

Infections that hit this community especially hard.

“Nobody needs covid, nobody needed covid, but it’s here and we’ve done as good of job of dealing with it as possibly could be expected, because the Tribe has led the way and said we are not messing around,” Stanley said.

Todd County has reported more than 1,200 cases since the pandemic first started. More than 1,100 of those patients have since recovered.

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