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Makayla MylesApril 3, 2024

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South Dakota Governor Banned from Tribal Lands

Kristi Noem has been banned from entering the land six Native American Tribes after making derogatory comments against tribal leaders and reservation life.

The bans add to existing bans created by four other reservations this year. Governor Noem is banned from entering one-fifth of her state’s territory. The decision comes after the Republican cut short a media book tour.

Ms. Noem was once the front-runner to become Donald Trump’s running mate for this year’s election. Less than three months ago, she was topping the polls of candidates for vice-president.

However, recent controversies, including how she shot her pet dog, have drawn intense criticism.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and Yankton Sioux tribes have passed resolutions that banned the governor from entering their territory. The tribes joined the Cheyenne River Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Rosebud Sioux, and Standing Rock Sioux tribes in making the governor an outlaw on their lands. It now raises the count to six South Dakota Native tribes refusing her entry.

Tribal governments have the sovereign right to exclude non-tribal members from their lands. They are allowed to use tribal law enforcement if necessary.

However, a secretary for the Yankton Sioux clarified to local media that the tribe has not yet “officially” banned the governor by a vote of the general council. The Business and Claims Committee, the main elected body, instead passed it.

As governor, Ms. Noem has been at odds with Tribal Authorities. While only the tribal and federal governments have jurisdiction over reservations, she has taught to try and expand the power of the state government. She was banished in 2019 by the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council after signing anti-riot legislation in response to the Native-led protests against the Keystone XL pipeline. Then again this year, she was banished over rhetoric that linked illegal immigration to crime on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The governor also ignored tribal objections to fireworks display over Mount Rushmore in 2020. She also clashed with tribal leaders after they set up coronavirus checkpoints to control visits to their reservations.

Recently, she alleged that Native children “don’t have any hope” because of absentee parents and suggested without any evidence that tribal leaders were “personally benefitting” from drug cartel operators.

“Governor Kristi Noem’s wild and irresponsible attempt to connect tribal leaders and parents with Mexican drug cartels is a sad reflection of her fear-based politics that do nothing to bring people together to solve problems,” wrote Janet Alkire, chairwoman of the Standing Rock Sioux, in a five-page rebuke.

A spokesperson of Ms. Noem later responded that “banishing Governor Noem does nothing to solve the problem…she calls on all our tribal leaders to banish cartels from tribal lands.”

It is the latest embarrassment for the former rising star of the Republican party.

In her new book, No Going Back, Ms. Noem recounts how she shot and killed her            14-month-old dog, Cricket, for bad behavior. She also recounts how she killed a goat that she claimed was smelly and mean. The governor claimed the killings were examples of her willingness to do things that were “difficult, messy, and ugly”.

In another passage, that was later removed, Ms. Noem claimed that she had been to the Korean DMZ, the demilitarized zone between South and North Korea, and that she “stared down Kim Jong Un”. There is no record of such an event taking place.

She also claimed that she was “slated to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron” during a visit to Paris but canceled her sit-down with the president over “pro-Hamas” comments he made in the press. A French government official said there was no record of a scheduled meeting or invitation.

Ms. Noem has countered at what she calls left-wing “spin”, but her attempts at damage control have failed all across the political spectrum. Several interviews have already been canceled.

Last week, Mr. Trump acknowledged Ms. Noem has had “a rough couple of days” but said that he liked her “a lot” and noted she “has been supportive of me from the beginning”. According to US media, however, Trump insiders say that she has “killed her chances” of becoming his vice-president.

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