Town of Parker seal

With Gov. Doug Ducey having extended his “stay-at-home” order for Arizona residents until May 15, the Town of Parker has issued a statement reminding all businesses and residents within the Town limits that they are required to follow this order.

This raises the question of the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ stay-at-home order, which was extended April 27 by the Tribal Council until May 31. The Town of Parker is within the boundaries of the Colorado River Indian Reservation.

“We’ll cross that path when we get there,” Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer said. As an Arizona town, she said they have to enforce the Governor’s order.

“The Governor’s order could be extended again,” she said.

The CRIT order applies to everyone, Tribal members and non-Tribal members alike, residing on reservation land. This includes leased land in Big River and Bluewater Lagoon. The Town of Parker has many non-Tribal members, and it includes a lot of “fee land” (privately owned) within the Town limits.

According to the decision in Town of Parker v. CRIT (1989), the Town of Parker was never “disestablished” from the CRIT reservation. The Tribes have jurisdiction over Tribal members within the Town, and they have jurisdiction over Tribal lots within the Town.

CRIT Attorney General Rebecca Loudbear cited the case of Montana v. U.S. (1981) to say the Tribes’ order applies to all residents and lots within the Town of Parker as the case allowed Tribal governments to have civil authority over non-Tribal members on fee lands within a reservation if their actions affect the health and welfare of the Tribe.

Wedemeyer said she did not want a jurisdictional conflict with the Tribes.

“We’re trying to be as general as possible,” she said. “We all want the same thing.”

The CRIT order is more stringent than that issued by Gov. Ducey. Among its provisions, the order required all non-essential businesses to close and non-essential personnel to stay home. All organized recreational activities are cancelled. Access to the Colorado River from the CRIT reservation is closed, gatherings of more than six people are banned if they are not from the same household, and only one person from a household may go out on ‘essential business’ at a time. There is also a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for reservation residents.


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