ROSEBUD RESERVATION – Last week, the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council banned alcohol on the reservation due to the state of emergency declared because of the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Rosebud Casino and Fuel Plaza were the only licensed alcohol outlets before the COVID-19 pandemic. When both businesses closed in late March, there were no longer any licensed outlets selling alcohol. When the decision was made to re-open the Fuel Plaza during week days, the tribal council took the action to ban alcohol. While the Rosebud Casino remains closed, the Fuel Plaza reopened last week. Hours are 8am-7pm, Monday through Friday. A limit of 10 customers will be allowed in the store at one time. No children are allowed in the Fuel Plaza.
President Rodney Bordeaux also announced that the tribal headquarters will remain closed to the public through May 29, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic situation will be reassessed at that time. Essential programs are still providing limited services to tribal citizens.
“It makes me proud as an elected leader to see essential employees show up on a daily basis to serve the tribe,” stated Bordeaux. Call 605-747-2381 to learn more about what services are being provided.
The tribe is also considering developing border checkpoints within a week or two to monitor traffic coming and leaving the reservation. Tribal officials are currently working with state and county governments to set this up. Checkpoints will be funded with money designed for the tribe under COVID-19 relief. President Bordeaux reported funding was also received by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.
The RST Task Force has been meeting every week to formulate a response plan should there be an outbreak on the Rosebud reservation. Several sites were considered to house an overflow hospital, should there be a need for one. The Sinte Gleska University Multipurpose Center is the top choice for an overflow facility. The two other sites available are the Diabetes Prevention Program building and the Adult Correctional Facility. It would be a medical decision to expand the Rosebud Hospital to one or all of these sites if needed.
The Task Force is also working with local vendors to provide cloth face masks to adult tribal citizens on the Rosebud.
President Bordeaux recently reported there will be no evictions from SWA housing through the COVID-19 pandemic. He asked SWA tenants to please understand this is not an excuse for you to not meet rental obligations. In addition,
He also mentioned meetings with local utility companies to discuss shut-offs. “Both agencies have assured me they will do anything they can to assist customers during this time,” Bordeaux said.
The Rosebud I.H.S. hospital remains closed to the public. However, the hospital does have a machine to do quick tests for COVID-19 onsite. Results come back within 15 minutes. The hospital still has to follow the CDC guidelines set down for COVID-19 testing. Call in to determine if you need further assessment based on your symptoms.
In addition, all vehicles will be stopped upon entering the Rosebud hospital compound for a basic screening by staff. Tribal citizens requiring basic medical attention or prescription refills should call in advance. Phone lines are 605-747-0532 or 605-747-0533. The Emergency department remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for those with medical emergencies. Please enter through the emergency department door. There is no dental clinic being provided while the hospital is closed, but emergencies will be seen. Women’s clinic is still available in the mobile unit parked in front of the facility. Medication refills will be delivered directly to your vehicle after you provide your information to the employee at the front entrance.
Also, there are no public wakes/funeral being held. “It is not my intent to disrespect anyone during their time of mourning,” stated President Bordeaux. “We also need to provide for the safety of the living during the pandemic.”
Holmes Funeral Home of Valentine, Nebraska provides 90 percent of reservation burials. The tribe does not want to endanger Funeral Director Karlanne Holmes or her staff by having public wakes and funerals. Until further notice by Ms. Holmes, the following protocol will be followed.
Conferences with families to make burial plans will be made by phone/text/email. Arrangements will be made for clothing, blankets, photos, etc. to be dropped off at the funeral home.
No public wakes. An option would be to have a small, private, immediate family only viewing followed by graveside service and burial. Viewings of 10 or fewer family members can be done at the funeral home, followed by a caravan to the cemetery. Viewings with more than 10 people must be conducted at the gravesite. The family may also choose to livestream the service for other relatives and friends. A public memorial service and feed should be held at a later date after the threat has passed and it has been deemed safe. If a family insists on having a wake service, they will assume all responsibility to include transport from the funeral home to wake and burial.
“We as Lakota need to rise up and support each other in our own ways,” stated President Bordeaux. “It will be some time before things get back to normal.”
President Bordeaux and Rosebud Hospital staff provide a weekly update on YouTube. Past updates are archived on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s official channel. Tribal information on the COVID-19 pandemic are posted on the RST website.