And when the casino finally swings open its doors under new COVID-19 prevention protocols, gamblers will be able to enjoy alcohol beverages of their choice. That's because the state of South Dakota won't be able to hold the tribe's liquor license hostage now that the litigation is over. "With the Supreme Court’s ruling, the state is not able to make the remittance of sales or use tax a condition of issuing our liquor license," said Pearman. The state had threatened the license for both the casino and First American Mart, a gas station and convenience store on the reservation, in hopes of forcing the tribe to pay taxes. But with the case coming to an end, it's business as usual for both operations, tribal officials said. "The state and tribe agreed to maintain status quo during the pendency of the litigation, and therefore the tribe’s liquor licenses were intact," said Morrisey. "Both the casino and First American Mart continue to pay the yearly licensing fee as well as being licensed by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Alcohol Board." South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) did not return a request for comment about the Supreme Court's action. But in a brief filed on May 1, just as Noem was challenging the sovereign rights of two other tribes in the state, he argued that imposing taxes on Royal River and First American was not a big deal. "Apart from an assumed diminution in gaming revenues, the tribe has not identified how the state’s tax would impermissibly infringe on its sovereign powers or interfere in the conduct of its own affairs," Ravnsborg told the Supreme Court. "There is no substance to the tribe’s claim of gross unfairness without any quantification of what the fiscal impact actually would be." The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals arrived at a different conclusion. The state's taxation efforts intrude on the tribe's sovereignty and its self-governance because they would impact critical programs and services that depend on gaming revenues, a split panel ruled last September. "The tribe provided evidence that increases in patronage at one amenity is directly tied to increases in gaming activity itself," Judge James B. Loken wrote for the 2-1 majority. "The tribe also submitted evidence of the casino’s significance in promoting tribal economic development and self-sufficiency." "Of the net revenues generated from the casino and the store, 40% is distributed by individual per capita payments; 35% of the remainder goes toward Tribal economic development, 15% toward tribal government operations, 5% into a minors trust fund, 4% into a community assistance fund, and 1% into a local government revenue sharing fund," Loken continued.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is excited to announce the reopening of the Royal River Casino and Hotel to the public at 8am on May 29, 2020. @RoyalRiverSD #COVID19 #Coronavirus #SouthDakota https://t.co/wfwDFIAFFR— indianz.com (@indianz) May 18, 2020
Trump has yet to publicly respond to Noem's missive. But Cheyenne River isn't taking down the checkpoints, and neither is the Oglala Sioux Tribe, as they continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus in their communities. "We had one guy who stopped and wouldn't even answer the questions, just starting yelling about a liberation army coming to help liberate South Dakota," Caleb Sorbel, a tribal citizen who was manning a coronavirus checkpoint on the Pine Ridge Reservation, told Indianz.Com during a live broadcast on Monday. "And some other racist stuff. The usual."
"Dear President Trump": First Kristi Noem made a legal threat. Now Republican @govkristinoem of #SouthDakota is asking the White House for help in taking down #Coronavirus checkpoints on two reservations. #COVID19 #Sovereignty #HonorTheTreaties https://t.co/I7j8FPVU62— indianz.com (@indianz) May 21, 2020
Interview with Brigitte Timmerman from Pine Ridge Checkpoint
Thank you for joining Indianz.com for this live interview with Caleb Sorbel, who joins us today from a checkpoint on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The video starts at about 6:15.Posted by Indianz.Com on Monday, May 25, 2020
Turtle Talk has posted documents from the 8th Circuit case, previously known as Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe v. Gerlach. Gov. Noem was substituted as the defendant at the request of the state. Noem filed her petition with the Supreme Court on February 21, Docket No. 19-1056. Following an opposition from the tribe and one more state brief, the justices rejected the petition in an order list released on Tuesday.
“This is our land! This is our land, so you cannot say anything!” Unci (Gramma) Emma, 89, delivers a message about #Sovereignty and #Coronavirus checkpoints to Republican Governor Kristi Noem of #SouthDakota. #COVID19 #HonorTheTreaties @govkristinoem https://t.co/fMY2xbal0q— indianz.com (@indianz) May 22, 2020