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Oglala Sioux Tribe Repeals Coronavirus Vaccine Requirement for School Kids

Even the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which took the coronavirus pandemic more seriously than most non-Indian governments in South Dakota, is backing away from vaccine requirements:

Monday, the OST Council met in special session in the council chambers of the Red Cloud building in Pine Ridge, with a vote of 15-3, the council rescinded the requirement that all students from preschool to high school on Pine Ridge Reservation needed a Covid-19 vaccine to enroll.

Concerned that a number of preschool and Headstart students have been kept from enrolling, a number of representatives felt it was necessary to rescind the vaccination requirement. My feeling that the vaccine doesn’t keep you from getting Covid, that the vaccine makes it so you are less sick and less likely to be hospitalized, stated Garf Little Dog, council representative from Wounded Knee district. We are changing the legislation from requiring the vaccine to recommending the vaccine added Ryan Jumping Eagle who is a council representative from Medicine Root district and chairs the HHS Committee [Tom Crash, “Council News Update,” Lakota Times, 2023.08.23].

A Commonwealth Fund study published last December estimated that in their first two years of availability, coronavirus vaccines saved 3.2 million lives and $1.15 trillion in medical costs.


  1. Ben Cerwinske 2023-08-25 08:13

    My understanding is that the current vaccines are still effective at reducing individual effects, but may not prevent transmission.

  2. jerry 2023-08-25 09:30

    Native people watch teevee too. What they are seeing is no different than what other folk see. So yeah, who can blame them for being skeptic? Native people have had a violent history of government induced virus that wiped out millions. Rather than a requirement, more education and information so people can make individual choices.

    Many good courses at Oglala Lakota College. A very good nursing program that does a great job to take enrolled nursing members to the scattered sites and to district meetings. Like everything else, communication is key on preventive medication.

  3. Mark Mowry 2023-08-25 10:33

    Nice to see common sense prevail; now if only it was contagious.

  4. P. Aitch 2023-08-25 12:42

    The new Covid vaccine will be available in September. I’ll be among those getting the newest jab immediately.
    – Does anyone here think the vaccine killed Bray Wyatt at age 36? Then, get some natto to remove the spike proteins from your blood.

  5. grudznick 2023-08-25 12:58

    grudznick will take two, Mr. P.h, one for my good friend on the Piney Ridge where they scoff at vaccines.
    Who is this Mr. Wyatt fellow?

  6. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-25 13:51

    This is a big mistake by the Council which, up to this point, has acted very responsively with the Covid crises.

  7. Mark Mowry 2023-08-25 14:05

    Good idea to get the vaccine before the next virus is created, right?

  8. Richard Schriever 2023-08-25 14:52

    Listened briefly to a “news” program on “religion-based” Family Values Network (or some such thing) in Northern Iowa this Morning. there was a woman commentator warning that the CDC is promoting the “dangerous” and purely cosmetic use of N-95 masks to reduce virus infections as a ruse to “push vaccines” on people. She then extorted the listeners of the “news” program to stock up on Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine. This was immediately followed by a preacher extolling the virtues of some church ideology or other. I had to switch before I heard too much and started yelling at the radio.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-08-25 17:24

    Mark, you are paranoid, and your comment on “creating” viruses is illogical. Coronavirus is real. The vaccines work. If we want to save lives and save money, as demonstrated by the link above, we should get our Covid shots.

  10. larry kurtz 2023-08-25 18:15

    At his Faceberg page Mr. Mowry lauds Jonas Salk for making the polio vaccine readily accessible.

  11. Mark Mowry 2023-08-26 07:55

    Cory, Go back and check the SD Dept. of Health statistics on children (19 or younger) who died or were even hospitalzed for Covid 19, then tell me how logical it is to push vaccinations and masking at schools. YOU go get YOUR shot but hey YOU Cory — Leave them kids alone!

  12. larry kurtz 2023-08-26 08:02

    Hey Democrats, most Native Americans don’t want Medicare for All; they want a fully funded Indian Health Service. Adjusted for age and population Trump killed many more American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) per capita than he did whites.

    Starting in New York Donald Trump targeted the Mohawk and Oneida Nations for annihilation then his Tulsa trip and his campaign rally in occupied South Dakota spread disease throughout Native America. Trump even killed the White House Tribal Nations Summit because he loathes Indigenous Americans and he committed crimes against humanity throughout Indian Country not only by slow-walking resources to reservations during a pandemic but by undercounting Indigenous populations during the 2020 Census. Trump’s erasure of protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments was cruel retribution targeting Indigenous peoples.

    It’s called ethnic cleansing even genocide elsewhere but in Trump’s America it’s called MAGA.

  13. jerry 2023-08-26 08:37

    Mr. Schriever, I have used N-95 masks for years. I also now use the Korean N-94 mask as they are cheaper and seem to work just as well. I like the idea that those N-95’s are made in South Dakota and can only comment on the nonsense you heard on the radio regarding cosmetic looks. The N-94’s are a little more appealing to look at though, but staying safe from either dust or viruses is a smart thing to do.

  14. Ben Cerwinske 2023-08-26 09:03

    I’ll still get the next shot while acknowledging it might not prevent transmission any longer.

    When it comes to the issue of having shut down schools or requiring shots and masks, I’ve seen even people on the left think that was the wrong decision. These people don’t seem to understand that if a teacher gets sick, then there’s nobody to teach those kids. Eventually we don’t have enough aides/subs to fill those positions. Schools will be shut down one way or another.

  15. Algebra 2023-08-26 10:15

    P. Aitch, interesting that Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) was dismissed as a treatment for Covid, but Prednisone, which does the same thing, was one of the drugs of choice.
    Both are anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat auto-immune diseases, and as such are effective against a virus-induced cytokine storm. Since they do the same thing, it was very odd that one was dismissed as charlatanism. I was prescribed prednisone both times I had Covid myself, and nobody blinked at that.
    Some things defy explanation.

  16. jerry 2023-08-26 14:02

    So then Algebra, I guess that means you ain’t no doctor, thank our lucky stars.

  17. jerry 2023-08-26 14:27

    Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. These malaria drugs were authorized for emergency use by the FDA during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the FDA withdrew that authorization when data analysis showed that the drugs are not effective for treating COVID-19. They can also cause serious heart problems.

    Algebra, ya must’ve been treated by some guy who works for a vet. Be happy that they didn’t neuter ya.

  18. P. Aitch 2023-08-26 14:37

    You’re just plain wrong, Al Geebrah. Both drugs DO NOT do the same thing, except in a simple, non-operable, and non-applicable definition.

  19. Neal 2023-08-27 10:12

    The likelihood of an infected child dying from covid is 0.0003%.

    It’s unnecessary (at best) and child abuse (at worst) to inject our children with these experimental “vaccines,” which do nothing to prevent transmission, and almost certainly cause a litany of other, much more serious problems, like myocarditis and other heart damage.

    Glad to see the tribe has seen the light. Completely unsurprising that most of the rest of you haven’t.

  20. Neal 2023-08-27 10:19

    Cory said: “Mark, you are paranoid, and your comment on “creating” viruses is illogical. Coronavirus is real.”

    Your own Dept of Energy concluded it was created in a lab.

    “The vaccines work.”

    Depends on what you mean by “work.” They do nothing to prevent transmission, which is the common understanding of what a “vaccine” is supposed to do. So you are either wrong or lying. Or both.

  21. larry kurtz 2023-08-27 10:40

    Despite urging from the primate of the Church of of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers to get inoculated during a pandemic a Sioux Falls, South Dakota school district with ties to the sect joined a 2021 lawsuit against the Biden administration’s vaccine or testing/masking mandate. Representing the Diocese of Sioux Falls pro bono is the Alliance Defending Freedom, identified as a hate group in 2016 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    The good news? Trump killed far fewer Democrats and offed lots more Earth haters like Neal.

  22. P. Aitch 2023-08-27 12:59

    Most COVID-19 deaths occur in people older than 65. Other factors can also make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. These include not getting vaccinated, or having underlying medical conditions — like chronic lung disease, heart disease, or a weakened immune system.
    Older adults (especially those aged 50 years and older) are more likely than younger people to get very sick from COVID-19. The risk increases with age. This means they are more likely to need hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they could die. Most COVID-19 deaths occur in people older than 65.

  23. Neal 2023-08-27 13:34

    How funny that Lar would refer to excess deaths … which are through the roof from pre-pandemic levels … and coincidentally highest in the most vaccinated countries. But I’m sure that has nothing to the poison vaccine you guys eat up like skittles. Carry on.

  24. jerry 2023-08-27 13:49

    Neal?? Is that you?? Your bartender called and said you have been in the bag for a while. Poor fellow, sober up, your idiot side is showing

  25. e platypus onion 2023-08-27 14:43

    Then a study came out three weeks after Energy Dept. stated with low certainty the virus came from a lab, and said the virus was transferred from a raccoon dog to a human at Wuhan market.

    Vaccines paramount job is to boost immune system against diseases and before Coivid Delta variant came along it did a decent job against transmission.

  26. Neal 2023-08-27 14:51

    Poor jerry, straight to the ad hominem. Guess I win again.

  27. jerry 2023-08-27 14:57

    Of course, the tribal government can govern as what their people want. Just because the tribe says no requirements, doesn’t mean that parents cannot take it upon themselves to get their kids a vaccine. This Covid thingy, where it came from, who cares, is here. Has been here since that boatload of folks got stranded on the docks to die (thanks trump). What needs to be clear, the poor and folks of color are gonna get hit the hardest.

    “In California and across the country, COVID cases are again on the rise. Hospitalizations were up 12.5% over the previous week in the latest data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and hospitalizations are one of the few ways to track the virus since the CDC dramatically scaled back its collection of infection rates in May.

    The overall numbers are nowhere near the horrible peaks of the three years past, and the severity of the cases is significantly lower as well. Still, three months after the federal government ended its COVID-19 public health emergency, some experts say there is a new normal in the U.S.: regular COVID seasons — and available vaccines — in the same manner as the flu.

    And one other “normal” will apply: Whatever punch COVID and its variants have left, it’ll hit working poor families and people of color the hardest.”

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