May 7, 2020

Letter to the editor:

We, the below signed members of the State-Tribal Relations Committee, the Montana Legislature's liaison with tribal governments, write to encourage the public, residents and nonresidents alike, to comply with restrictions tribal governments adopt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Although public highways and gas stations remain open across reservations, some tribal governments restrict access to their communities through signage, check points, and road blocks to buffer vulnerable, tightly knit populations where access to health care and other resources is limited.

Tribal governments may ask travelers to take other routes and to limit stops within reservation boundaries. Many beloved recreational opportunities are closed.

While some areas of the state reopen, tribal governments continue to take preventive measures to protect their members from COVID-19, especially elders who guard sacred traditions and oral histories.

Please respect the rights of the sovereign nations in Montana to do so, and help protect our tribal communities.

Respectfully submitted,

Senator Jason Small, Chair
Representative Rae Peppers, Vice Chair
Senator Jen Gross
Senator Dan Salomon
Senator Frank Smith
Representative Jade Bahr
Representative Joe Read
Representative Sharon Stewart Peregoy

The Legislative News.