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Kristi Noem’s Border Policies Strain Relations with South Dakota Tribe, Prompting Banishment

In recent developments, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem finds herself entangled in a controversy involving a South Dakota tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, residing on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The tribe, led by President Frank Star Comes Out, has taken the unprecedented step of banishing Governor Noem from their homelands. The primary catalyst for this banishment stems from Noem’s remarks regarding her desire to send razor wire and security personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border and allegations that cartels are infiltrating the state’s reservations.

Noem’s outspoken stance on border security has drawn criticism from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, with accusations that she is leveraging the immigration issue for political gain, particularly to support former President Donald Trump’s potential re-election. Noem’s proposal to send razor wire to the border and her claims of cartels infiltrating South Dakota reservations have strained her relationship with the tribal community.

President Star Comes Out expressed deep concern for Indigenous people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, highlighting that many come in search of jobs and a better life. The tribal leader vehemently opposed the idea of placing them in cages or using razor wire, emphasizing the need for a more compassionate approach. Moreover, Governor Noem’s reference to a gang named the Ghost Dancers in her speech was met with strong objections, as the Ghost Dance holds profound cultural significance for the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

The banishment of Governor Noem from the Pine Ridge Reservation underscores the severity of the rift between her administration and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. President Star Comes Out accused Noem of disrespecting the tribe’s sacred ceremonies and using divisive rhetoric for political purposes. In response, Governor Noem labeled the banishment as an unfortunate politicization of the border issue and reiterated her commitment to addressing federal law enforcement failures on tribal lands.

The Pine Ridge Reservation declared a state of emergency in November due to increasing crime, shedding light on the complex challenges faced by Indigenous communities. A judge ruled that the federal government has a treaty duty to support law enforcement on the reservation, but the funding level sought by the tribe remains unresolved. Noem’s deployment of National Guard troops to the Mexican border three times further contributes to the strained relations between her administration and Native American communities.

Governor Kristi Noem’s contentious remarks on border security and allegations of cartel infiltration have led to her banishment from the Pine Ridge Reservation by the Oglala Sioux Tribe. This incident highlights the broader issues faced by Indigenous communities, the historical context of strained relations, and the ongoing challenges in addressing the safety and well-being of Native American populations. As the situation unfolds, the need for constructive dialogue and collaboration between state authorities and tribal leaders remains essential to find common ground and address shared concerns.