4 weeks ago

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem banned from all tribal lands in her own state

South Dakota’s far-right governor Kristi Noem is now officially barred by Indigenous groups from visiting all tribal lands in her own home state.

The sweeping ban is the latest development in the contentious relationship between Noem and Indigenous tribes after controversial comments the governor made connecting tribal leaders to international drug cartels.

It is only the latest scandal for Noem, long a controversial acolyte of Donald Trump, who garnered outrage after the Guardian reported on her book in which the governor revealed that she had shot her family dog and goat in cold blood.

South Dakota’s Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe (FSST) voted on Tuesday to ban Noem from its property, the last of the state’s nine official Native American tribes to do so.

Several members of FSST had reportedly urged their leaders to ban Noem and said that they were “uncomfortable and upset” that she had still not been prohibited from their reservation despite bans from other tribes, South Dakota newspaper the Argus Leader reported.

“We need to stand in solidarity with our fellow tribes in South Dakota, the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ,” Tyler Rambeau, executive administrative assistant of the FSST Homeowners Assistance Fund, told the Argus Leader, referring to the collective Sioux groups from the Great Plains region.

“We do not want to come up on the wrong side of history in this moment,” he added.

Noem had been considered a contender for Trump’s running mate this election, but may have damaged her chances with her descriptions of shooting the animals. She claimed in March that tribal leaders were “personally benefiting” from international drug cartels, in remarks that quickly sparked outrage.

“We’ve got some tribal leaders that I believe are personally benefiting from the cartels being there, and that’s why they attack me every day,” Noem said. “But I’m going to fight for the people who actually live in those situations, who call me and text me every day and say: ‘Please, dear governor, please come help us in Pine Ridge. We are scared.’”

In separate comments, Noem also alleged that Indigenous children struggle more in school because their parents do “not show up” for them, Keloland News reported.

In a statement shared with CNN, Noem did not directly comment on the ban, but said she hopes to cooperate with tribal leaders in the future.

“I only want to speak truth to the real challenges that are being faced in some areas of Indian country,” she said.

Several tribes banned Noem earlier this year after accusing the governor of using controversial rhetoric to curry favor with Trump.

“Our people are being used for her political gain,” said Oglala Sioux Tribe president Frank Star Comes Out said to the Associated Press.

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