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Rep. Gosch Wants Fewer Indians in Mobridge

Representative Spencer Gosch (R-23/Glenham) wants to know why the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has checkpoints to stop visitors from bringing coronavirus to the reservation but isn’t keeping those darn Indians from dirtying up his district:

“I would like to urge, that’s a two-way street,” Gosch said. He said Mobridge, in Walworth County east of the Cheyenne River reservation, had an outbreak of five cases confined to one family. He said Mobridge meanwhile was full of license plates from neighboring Dewey and Ziebach counties that comprise the reservation.

Gosch said checkpoints were effective in keeping people out of reservations but weren’t effective in limiting exposure to COVID-19 off-reservation [Bob Mercer, “S.D. Legislators Discuss Tribal Checkpoints,” KELO-TV, 2020.06.08].

Spencer, I think you mean no-way street.

You’re also missing the point of the fundamental disparities in health care. The Cheyenne River and Oglala Sioux Tribes, like other Indian communities, have much more to fear about white folks bringing disease to their vulnerable and underresourced communities than you and Mobridge and Glenham have of Indians bringing contagion. The tribes are making sacrifices to protect their communities.

If you, Representative Gosch, would like to make sacrifices to protect your community, well, I guess you could propose that Governor Noem set up her own counter-checkpoints just outside the borders of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and turn back feverish Indians… but weren’t you listening? She just told you that the answer to all of your questions is more freedom, not more government.

Pick a lane, Spencer… just not the lane bringing your dirty white cooties to Eagle Butte.

Update 17:23 CDT: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier explains that his residents have to stop at the checkpoints, too… and the information they’ve given has helped contain the pandemic on the reservation:

Back in April, tribal leadership established health checkpoints that restricted travel. Non-residents who are non-essential are turned away, while residents and essential non-residents must fill out a health questionnaire.

“We had two positive cases and because of these checkpoints we do know when the patients left, we know where they were and we know when they came back,” said CRST Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier [Richard Two Bulls, “Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Maintains Status Quo,” SDPB, 2020.06.09].

Chairman Frazier says he plans to maintain the checkpoints until a coronavirus vaccine is available.


  1. James Busch 2020-06-09 09:45

    Indian Health Service clinics and hospitals are on every reservation and provided free of charge. Native Americans have more access to affordable healthcare than some people not living on the reservation. The CARES Act also provided funding for IHS for COVID response. We need to make sure we are telling the whole story as it relates to healthcare disparity in South Dakota.

  2. marvin kammerer 2020-06-09 09:57

    maybe rep.gosch should read the constitution.i know that the treaty with natives of 1868 reads from the east bank of the missouri river in sd., west into wyo.including n.dakota west of the missouri & into parts of montana & also part of neb.

  3. Francis Schaffer 2020-06-09 11:20

    So where does he expect them to shop for groceries/shoes/clothes? Not sure a local business would want less traffic.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-09 12:22

    Really, James? Are you saying that the tribal leaders are lying to us about their healthcare situation and are implementing checkpoints for some other reason?

  5. Scott 2020-06-09 12:37

    I wonder what Mobridge businesses think of his comment?

    Somebody must of had too much TRUMP Koolaid.

  6. jerry 2020-06-09 12:42

    I wonder what Gene Cox, the mayor of Mobridge would have to say about this whole dust up from Spencer Gosch on chasing business away from Modridge. You might remember that Spencer Gosch, hisownself, “Gosch was quarantined on March 12, 2020, after being tested for coronavirus following an illness. Gosch tested negative.” Spencer Gosch, more that many of us, should understand the reasoning behind what a quarantine actually means and does and why prevention is the most important thing that can be done. Clearly, this joker is one of the ones Charlie Hoffman described as a wannabe governor, so he sucks up to NOem. What a guy.

    Don’t know what kind of “small business” Spencer Gosch is the head of, but clearly he doesn’t like to do any business with Natives.

  7. jerry 2020-06-09 13:17

    On June 11, Jason Anderberg, the owner of the Mobridge Livestock Sales, will have a sale at his sale barn. I’m gonna step out on a limb here and suggest that Mr. Anderberg probably would want those licence plates from Dewey and Ziebach County there in Mobridge. Maybe between an important business like a cattle sales barn and the rest of business folks in Mobridge (outside of Spencer Gosch) would not be so cavalier about booting business from Dewey and Ziebach County’s. Maybe business people could educate an ignorant Spencer Gosch about how that sales barn actually draws business to downtown Mobridge from outlying areas…including Standing Rock and Cheyenne River.

  8. Andrew Iron Shell 2020-06-09 17:42

    Representative Gosch seems to have views rooted in white supremacy. I’m sure his legacy in his community is tarnished by this historical sickness of the spirit? The only cure for the Mobridge community will be found at the ballot box.

  9. Debbo 2020-06-09 18:27

    I think Gosch just put up his “I am a racist” sign to move him in a little tighter to some of his SDGOP pals.

  10. Don 2020-06-09 18:43

    James, your statements are correct. But, the disparities are far different and pertain to all people living on the reservation regardless of race. There is no critical care, a complete lack of health care all together. Distance is the issue.

  11. Jackie Larson Yellow 2020-06-09 18:48

    IHS hospitals and clinics offer only minimum levels of care. They are typically underfunded year after year. Professional staff is always hard to find and keep in communities that offer few opportunities for entertainment, shopping or activities for adults and children. My husband worked for IHS for many years. Keeping IHS hospitals afloat is a juggling act for the administration.

  12. Laurisa 2020-06-09 19:45

    James, my husband and I are white residents of Eagle Butte and you have no idea what you’re talking about. As white non-tribal residents we have more and easier access to, and far better quality, health care than tribal members do with IHS facilities close by. This is especially true in reservations even poorer than Cheyenne River, particularly Pine Ridge. Congress severely and deliberately underfunds IHS, and it often runs out of money for the year by May or June. And if you think they’re able to attract high-quality experienced medical professionals to places like Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, Standing Rock and Rosebud, among most others, then you’re even more naive and ignorant.

    And the way tribal members are treated by a lot of medical staff and facilities off the reservation (hello Pierre, Rapid City, Aberdeen!) is downright shameful, which I’ve been a witness to too often. Especially when seeing a tribal member friend through cancer treatment in Pierre. Cheyenne River and the other reservations DO NOT have the medical facilities, abilities and resources to handle an influx of pandemic cases, especially among the numerous elderly and chronically ill.

    I am in a neighboring state for a temporary job while my husband is living and working in Eagle Butte, this was the situation when the pandemic hit. Though we haven’t seen each other for three months, and we have no idea when we’ll be able to see each other again, and it’s extremely difficult, I’m beyond grateful for the checkpoints that have been keeping him and friends there safe, especially since he’s in the age bracket that’s more vulnerable to problems with it.

    And I am beyond furious with the useless racist governor and her equally useless racist bootlickers and minions who are attempting to force tribes to stop trying to protect reservation residents, thus endangering my husband and thousands of others.

  13. Debbo 2020-06-09 20:14

    Laurisa, thank you for a clear and accurate assessment of the racist inequities in SD.

  14. Jett 2020-06-09 21:04

    You should be ashamed of yourself dakotafreepress. Where does it say he wants fewer natives in Mobridge? He was clearly stating that people who live on the reservation are allowed to travel off the reservation and back again, possible bring the virus home. This is only going to separate people more. You are selling a false narrative for clicks.

  15. John T 2020-06-09 21:07

    The guy that wrote this lives nowhere near South Dakota and has no clue what he is talking about.

  16. Emily Gill 2020-06-09 22:42

    Really???? I think somebody with the Dakota Free Press is full of something that falls from the back end of my animals. Who actually said “dirty Indians”, the writer from the Dakota Free Press? This is a horrible, horrible article and unless you have an actual recording, I highly doubt those words were from Spencer. Way below the belt…

  17. CRJ 2020-06-09 22:52

    James…..have you ever stepped foot inside the IHS hospitals in Pine Ridge, Eagle Butte or Rosebud? I seriously doubt it considering your comment. I have….scores of times as a medical transport pilot at all hours of the day and night. I’m afraid your imagination is outpacing your knowledge.

  18. John 2020-06-09 22:52

    Cory, I’m guessing your favorite tv station is CNN. Your article is extremely misleading and taken completely out of context.
    Nowhere did Rep. Gosch say “those darn Indians are dirtying up his district”. YOU said that. What Rep. Gosch is saying, is that the locals are free to leave the reservation and go anywhere they choose and then come back on. Chances are, when they return they would not yet show any symptoms if they had picked up Covid-19 and there is no way of telling if the returnees are truthful about where they have been. You completely missed the point!
    The checkpoint is a political ploy by the tribal chairman to puff out his chest. They say it is to protect the IHS from being overrun by Covid-19 patients. If anyone on the reservation has anything serious, they will end up at the Mobridge Hospital, Rapid City, Bismarck, or perhaps Aberdeen. They will not be at the IHS facilities.
    If overrunning the health facilities was a valid reason for these checkpoints, you can bet other areas that are just as remote, would be doing the same. Harding County would absolutely have checkpoints. The only healthcare facility they have is the Buffalo clinic. They are a long way from any ICUs.
    You need to get a better understanding of what is really going on BEFORE you spew untruths. The checkpoints are not there to protect anybody or any facility. They are completely political grandstanding.

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-10 05:49

    [This post is drawing a number of first-time commenters, thus warranting a reminder that, per the DFP comment nymity policy, comments from unrecognized and unverified e-mail addresses go to the moderation queue. If commenters respond to a verification e-mail with their full name, demonstrating that their comments are not spam, bots, or other fraudulent activity, their comments are released from the moderation queue.]

  20. mike from iowa 2020-06-10 07:06

    No one said “dirty Indians”, especially not CAH.

  21. jerry 2020-06-10 09:00

    Emily just read something that wasn’t there. I did that this very morning when I looked at my Mega Millions ticket. I thought I had the numbers correct for the win, but, alas, it was just a “dirty trick” my mind played on me. That kicked me way way way below the belt, but I’m okay.

  22. James Busch 2020-06-10 09:29

    I have in fact stepped into each and every IHS clinic and hospital in SD during my time with the federal government. There is a clinic and/or hospital on each and every reservation in South Dakota that is funded to provide medical services to their members.

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-10 12:06

    I can’t say where John T lives, but he obviously has no clue what he’s talking about when he talks about me. As regular readers know, I live in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I just had a burger and a nice walk in Mobridge a couple weekends ago.

    John T also fails to recognize the logical fallacy of assuming that location somehow validates or invalidates one’s arguments… and then falling into his own trap by failing to establish where he lives as “proof” of his “authority”.

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-10 12:10

    Once again, John starts with an effort to turn the argument from the statements on the record to his incorrect assumptions about the person he’d rather argue about. I don’t even have cable.

    Gosch’s statements are clear: he’s currying favor with the Governor by trying to play word games and challenge the validity of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s exercise of tribal sovereignty in the interest of its members’ public health, all with a nice flavor typical GOP racism.

    Chairman Frazier isn’t staging some cheap political ploy—that’s Gosch and Noem’s game when they play fetus worship but then refuse to take serous action to prevent a deadly pandemic. Chairman Frazier is genuinely, practically pro-life; Gosch and Noem are poseurs.

    Maybe Harding County should establish checkpoints to prevent their population and meager health care facilities from being overwhelmed by coronavirus. And Maybe Chairman Frazier doesn’t want his people to get sick with a deadly disease and have to be carted off to far-away hospitals in the first place. Prevention is very sensible. John T’s comment is not.

  25. jerry 2020-06-10 12:22

    James Busch, what year(s) are you speaking of? What capacity did you go into each and every IHS facility in South Dakota? Are you an enrolled member that was able to receive treatment(s) in those facilities? Thanks

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-10 12:31

    As you’ll notice in my update, Chairman Frazier is subjecting his own residents to stops and questionnaires to keep track of where they’ve been and identify possible avenues of contagion. Chairman Frazier is running a responsible public health campaign. Rep. Gosch is playing politics with an unhealthy race card. Gosch is the one trying to separate people more by failing to support tribal sovereignty.

  27. jerry 2020-06-10 12:31

    John, what is your favorite teevee station and what does that have to do with Spencer Gosch claims?

    Also, you do know that even though your liecense plates may indicate the county your vehicle is registered in, that doesn’t mean that you get a free pass through the check points. I believe at least one person, who had come from Pierre, tested positive for the Covid19 that was discovered at a checkpoint. That person was then isolated and treated by IHS as this person was an enrolled member.

    It only takes one person John to spread the virus. Case in point was an incident in South Korea of one infected person who decided they were going clubbing and kick started an outbreak there.

    Spencer Gosch’s proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is a very ignorant man who should find another profession other than politics. To be in the middle of an epic pandemic and spout that kind of nonsense doesn’t surprise me. He, of all people, who has himself been quarantined because of the virus, shouldn’t even be around people. Dude is a possible carrier and should be a poster boy of what can happen.

  28. mike from iowa 2020-06-10 12:54

    The checkpoints are not there to protect anybody or any facility. They are completely political grandstanding.

    What offices,specifically, are the Indians running for with their political grandstanding?

    Tribal chair is probably the highest attainable office on the Rez.

  29. Ben Wolf Necklace 2020-06-10 14:30

    Spencer Gosch, you might want to educate yourself about the topic. IHS clinics offer minimal medical services to people. I will go to Mobridge anytime I like. You to return to your.peoples motherland anytime you like. There is no place here for racist white supremacists!

  30. Caleb 2020-06-10 20:28

    “If overrunning the health facilities was a valid reason for these checkpoints, you can bet other areas that are just as remote, would be doing the same.”

    That’s as silly as believing economic models built on a presumption of “rational” consumers.

    “Nowhere did Rep. Gosch say “those darn Indians are dirtying up his district”. YOU said that. What Rep. Gosch is saying, is that the locals are free to leave the reservation and go anywhere they choose and then come back on. Chances are, when they return they would not yet show any symptoms if they had picked up Covid-19 and there is no way of telling if the returnees are truthful about where they have been. You completely missed the point!”

    If you truly believe the author of this blog post thought Gosch said what you quoted or that he didn’t understand the point you believe he missed, I can only perceive two possibilities: you have poor reading comprehension or you didn’t patiently and thoughtfully read the post.

  31. Ben Wolf Necklace 2020-06-10 20:36

    Caleb, I bet trump and gosch are so glad to have people like you to always translate what they actually said…lol

  32. Charlie Hoffman 2020-06-15 06:59

    Corey thanks for the flattering comment on Election Day evening. I was mentioned above and cannot remember ever saying anything about Representative Gosch like that but anything today can be taken out of context with hundreds of media outlets pasting and publishing. There’s an old statement by former governor Janklow that goes something like this:” of the 30 or so new members of the legislature every session 24 of them know they’re going to become governor someday. “ Classic Janklow. Regardless after listening to the exchange I truly do not think Spencer would ever say something racist knowing he works and lives and has friends of mixed racial qualities in Mobridge.
    Everyone today is so hyper sensitive we are missing the forest for the trees. Be well CH and knowing I’m good at opening my mouth wide I’m sure we’ll be visiting sometime soon.

  33. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-15 07:05

    Good to hear from you, Charlie! I think Rep. Gosch needs to stop being hypersensitive to exercises of tribal sovereignty.

  34. Ben Wolf Necklace 2020-06-15 23:00

    Gosch needs to do his job and work.on trumpvirus-19 prevention and stop being a racist ass!

  35. Debbo 2020-06-15 23:16

    Yes. What Mr. Wolf Necklace said.

  36. jerry 2020-06-16 00:55

    Gosch blew the racist dog whistle that delights those who understand it’s meaning, the haters ears perked up like a whole town of prairie dogs and then they barked their approval.

  37. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-16 07:10

    “Stamp out infection—stamp out Trumpism!” I’m sure we could work Ben’s suggestion into some good campaign t-shirts for Biden. Unfortunately, we can’t put that effort toward beating Gosch in November, since he won the primary and faces no challengers in November.

  38. Ben Wolf Necklace 2020-06-17 00:56

    Too bad the dakotas are infested with calm genius trumpies.

  39. Charlie Hoffman 2020-06-17 05:52

    The Commerce Clause describes an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution. The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power “[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” Wikipedia
    Congress must approve any alterations of free travel throughout the entire US so I assume this all will come up again but for now we need to work out solutions with the least negative impact on travel and trade throughout all of South Dakota. We’re all in this virus swamp together.

  40. jerry 2020-06-17 09:30

    Hmmm, the Commerce Clause, in a pandemic that the government watched unroll to unprotected Indian Tribes that they have the responsibility to protect. Yes, by all means, let’s see how that racially charged thingy works out. This same government was just forced to finally give up money promised to treat the pandemic weeks after white communities got relief. Perfect for the dog whistle gang as they are now angry that this money was not given to their pockets.

    “WASHINGTON ― A federal judge on Monday ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to distribute $679 million in emergency COVID-19 relief funds to Native American tribes that should have gotten it months ago, and he chided the agency for causing “irreparable harm” with its delays.

    “Continued delay in the face of an exceptional public health crisis is no longer acceptable,” said U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who gave Mnuchin until Wednesday to disburse the funds.”

    The real problem is that Indian Tribes have taken this pandemic seriously. The Indian Tribes are trying to protect commerce as well as the people who live within the boundaries of their reservation lands. As noted above, the government, through the racist policies of the current regime, has failed them completely. The commerce is still available on the reservations, that has not ended nor has it been threatened. Commerce can still supply the stores on the reservations. The dog whistle blown by Gosch talks about licence plates from Dewey and Ziebach Counties, Indian Tribes have long known those prefix numbers lead to racial profiling and that is what the dog whistle was all about. Gosch was not speaking of white ranchers who shop in Mobridge that come from those counties, he was blowing that dog whistle on the Indians, real or imaginary. The state should step up and help man those checkpoints to show unity against an unseen terrorist called Covid19.

  41. mike from iowa 2020-06-17 09:37


  42. jerry 2020-06-17 10:47

    So we’re all clear on what’s happening in a country that is on it’s own to deal with the pandemic at hand. Does anyone think that folks from these states will not come to ours? We have that rally thang and that fireworks thang as well as just the ignoring of the plague that is killing us each and every day.

    “Loosening restrictions and increasing public gatherings may make it seem as though the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is over, but just this week Florida, Texas and Arizona set daily records for new cases.

    The states are among 21 across the nation seeing increasing trends in new cases from one week to the next. More than 2 million people in the US have been infected with coronavirus and 116,962 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Health experts are warning that more infections and deaths are in store as states continue their reopening plans.”

    There will be no vaccine until mid to late 2021, if we’re lucky. How effective that vaccine will be, who knows? Keep the check points up. Maybe consider joint manning of the checkpoints to show solidarity rather than animosity. Boy howdy, that would put a corn cob in that dog whistle.

  43. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-17 19:21

    Representative-Elect Hoffman, you’ve apparently figured out a legal argument for busting the checkpoints that no one in the White House or Justice Department has figure out yet, a month after Governor Noem’s appeal to save South Dakota’s white folk from those overbearing Indians. Keep talking like that, and you’ll end up with an appointment to DOJ… or even the Supreme Court!

    But we’re not all in the virus swamp together… or at least we don’t have to be, if we had half the good sense of our Lakota neighbors. They’re saying they don’t want to be in the white man’s virus swamp, they can’t risk being in the white man’s virus swamp, and they deserve the right to take simple, non-violent action to keep themselves out of the white man’s virus swamp.

    Kristi Noem trusts her people to do the right thing. Why doesn’t she trust Indians to do the right thing?

  44. bearcreekbat 2020-06-18 01:39

    I question the assertion that: “Congress must approve any alterations of free travel throughout the entire US.”

    While the Commerce Clause certainly authorizes Congress to regulate commerce among Indian Tribes by enacting laws to that end, I see no constitutional mandate that Congress “must approve” the choices of any Indian Tribe. Congress could enact a statute requiring such approval, but I have yet to see a citation or reference to any such statute. Unless Congress has enacted such a statute, it appears Cory might be giving Mr. Hoffman’s “legal argument for busting the checkpoints” more impact than can be justified by the Commerce Clause standing alone.

  45. mike from iowa 2020-06-18 07:38

    Kristi Noem trusts her people to do the right thing is code for clewlessness on par with the orange blob in the kremlin annex.

    Toss something to the public and if it works, give yourself immense credit. If it fails, move on to the n ext potential disaster that wingnuts seem adept at arranging.

  46. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-18 12:30

    Trump would appoint Hoffman; Biden would appoint Bearcreekbat to DOJ, or maybe to White House counsel.

    Tribal sovereignty is still a sticking point in Hoffman’s argument. Coronavirus will have a lot more impact on commerce than checkpoints to prevent coronavirus. And the checkpoints aren’t stopping or regulating commerce; the tribes are not preventing anyone carrying commercial goods across state lines from entering or exiting South Dakota.

  47. bearcreekbat 2020-06-18 12:56

    Amazingly enough, the common sense proposition that

    . . . the checkpoints aren’t stopping or manipulating commerce; the tribes are not preventing anyone carrying commercial goods across state lines from entering or exiting South Dakota

    was rejected many years ago by the SCOTUS in the odd case of Wickard v., Filburn where it rejected a farmer’s argument that

    Filburn argued that Congress had overstepped its commerce power by regulating the amount of wheat he produced, because Filburn was never going to sell his wheat (and thus place it in the stream of interstate commerce).

    And in an even stranger turn of events this goofy reasoning was reaffirmed by the SCOTUS with Justice Scalia, a purported textualist, wrote the majority opinion in Gonzales v. Raich, ruling that the Wickard Commerce Clause rationale supported Congress’ power to make a criminal out of a sick woman for legally growing under state law, but never distributing, her own medical marijuana.

  48. Charlie Hoffman 2020-06-18 13:10

    Mr. H I am laughing out loud right now. You have taken a negative and turned it into a positive. Thank you. And believe me you if there is ever anything that I can do to further dialogue with our Native residents of South Dakota living on or off the Reservations I will do so. I have some very good Native friends who I love dearly and would go to bat for any day of the week.
    My father said often that if you give a German something to do they will find a harder way to do it. Back at ya Mr. H.

  49. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-06-20 08:13

    I hope you will promote that dialogue, Representative-Elect Hoffman. Your party leader seems to sorely lack the skills to promote genuine dialogue; she seems to prefer ruling by executive fiat.

  50. mike from iowa 2020-10-01 19:31

    From Neko Case’s Twitter feed:

    ACLU of South Dakota
    VICTORY: A Montana court permanently struck down a state law today that severely restricted the right to vote for Indigenous people living on rural reservations.

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