Last Wednesday, Jan. 13, elders within Sioux Valley community had received the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine. Margaret Kiyewakan, a resident of Dakota Oyate Lodge was the first to have the injection.
Last fall, Sioux Valley Dakota Nation announced a community lockdown in November, however, as of Jan. 23, further shut downs include blockades on nine roads listed on the community website. Meanwhile the community’s COVID-19 dashboard shows a rise in cases https://svdngovernance.com/news/
As of Jan. 25, there were 29 active cases, 92 in isolation, and 63 additional contacts. That day, a total of four people had recovered from the virus and two people were hospitalized.
A notice from Chief Jennifer Bone and Council explains the move to isolate the community:
“The announcement of our community closure has been carefully weighed in consideration of the risks and benefits of such a public health intervention. Security measures/check-points are just one of the many possible ways to promote public health during a pandemic.
“As has been announced, our community is in a critical stage of containment – unnecessary travel must stop immediately. In recent past, failure to heed this direction has resulted in viral transmission and an increase in our local cases.”
SVDN local community has 1,429 on the reserve. However, there are 2,295 people registered as members of Sioux Valley, meaning that many members live off-reserve.
The notice goes on to say, “Permitted travel for essential purposes will continue but will be monitored. Persons travelling out of community to facilitate shared parenting arrangements will continue.
“Please continue to hold each other up and practice lateral kindness in these challenging times.”