Tribal Leaders Ban Gov. Kristi Noem from Twenty Percent of South Dakota

Tribal Leaders Ban Gov. Kristi Noem from Twenty Percent of South Dakota 1

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Governor Kristi Noem has had a tough stretch…of her own making. 

Ahead of the publication of her new book last week, No Going Back, the South Dakota Republican has been on a clean-up tour after it emerged that she included an anecdote about killing her own puppy and another that falsely boasted of meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. In interviews promoting the book, Noem snapped at reporters who asked about the inconsistencies and suggested President Biden’s dog should also be killed.

This weekend, new challenges emerged for Noem closer to home. As of Friday, six of South Dakota’s nine tribes have voted to ban her from their lands, according to the Associated Press, which reports that the off-limits area amounts to twenty percent of the state. Members of the Yankton Sioux Tribe unanimously voted to bar Noem on Friday, citing comments she made earlier this year alleging, without evidence, that “some tribal leaders…are personally benefiting from the cartels being there,” and that Native “kids don’t have any hope” and “don’t have parents who show up and help them.” 

Earlier this week, the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe banned Noem. The Oglala, Rosebud, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes previously enacted bans, according to the South Dakota Searchlight

“How dare the Governor allege that Sioux Tribal Councils do not care about their communities or their children, and, worse, that they are involved in nefarious activities?” Oglala Sioux tribe President Frank Star Comes Out said last month.

Noem also angered tribal leaders by showing up uninvited to an April meeting between the tribes and the federal government, an appearance one tribal leader blasted as a “publicity stunt,” the Searchlight reported. 

A spokesperson for Noem did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Mother Jones on Sunday. But as political scientist Cal Jillson told the AP, the latest feud may be to Noem’s benefit.

“I’m sure that Gov. Noem doesn’t mind a focus on tensions with the Native Americans in South Dakota,” Jillson said, “because if we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about her shooting the dog.”