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Bois Forte Band confirms first COVID-19 case, warns members of banishment if they test positive and don’t abide by orders

BOIS FORTE BAND (Nett Lake, Vermilion, Deer Creek) - Bois Forte Health and Human Services confirmed their first known positive COVID-19 case within the Vermilion sector of the reservation on Tuesday, June 16th.

Last week members of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa were notified by the Chairperson that members who test positive for COVID-19 and fail to abide by a new quarantine order now run the risk of being banished from the reservation or losing tribal rights for up to five years, according to the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

The Tribune reports there has been “some concerns” over the quarantine of the individual and their family.

The Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council passed a “Quarantine Order” for tribal and non-tribal members on the reservation who, “tested positive for COVID, is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or has come into close contact with another person who is confirmed or suspected of carrying COVID-19,” according to the Tribune.

The order would end after 14 days or once a medical health professional at the tribal clinic determines that person “no longer poses a risk of becoming ill or spreading the disease to others.”

Other tribal nations in Minnesota have enacted similar resolutions, including the Fond du Lac Band.

Their resolution declares a public health emergency and provides broad powers to quarantine, detain and exclude individuals, according to the Band.

The Band said it has not yet needed to exercise those powers.

Ramona Marozas

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