Kristi Noem banned by two more Indigenous tribes after insulting drug cartel remarks

Pierre, South Dakota - South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been barred from nearly 20% of the state as Indigenous groups move to ban her from their lands.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been banned by the Yankton Sioux tribe and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe over her anti-Indigenous public statements.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been banned by the Yankton Sioux tribe and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe over her anti-Indigenous public statements.  © KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP

The Yankton Sioux tribe and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe prohibited Noem from entering their lands after she accused their leaders of having links to drug cartels.

"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 claimed back in March. "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!'"

"As Tribal leaders, it is our duty to honor the voice of our people," members of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Council said in a statement to Dakota News Now.

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"Although, it is always a goal to engage in constructive dialogue with our political counterparts at the federal and state level. It is equally important we take actions that protect our values, ensuring a safe and inclusive environment, and preventing further marginalization of tribal nations."

Noem issued a defiant response on Thursday, posting on X: "Tribals [sic] leaders should take action to ban the cartels from their lands and accept my offer to help them restore law and order to their communities while protecting their sovereignty."

Kristi Noem banned by more Indigenous tribes

Noem had already been banned by the Oglala Sioux tribe, among others, for not responding to community needs and deploying insulting language.
Noem had already been banned by the Oglala Sioux tribe, among others, for not responding to community needs and deploying insulting language.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

Noem has already been barred by the Oglala Sioux tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, the Rosebud Sioux tribe, and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. They cited various reasons for the bans, from the governor's failure to respond to tribal needs, to her deployment of National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border, to insulting language targeting Indigenous Peoples.

The Rosebud Sioux tribe said last month: "Governor Noem claims she wants to establish meaningful relationships with Tribes to provide solutions for systemic problems. However, her actions as Governor blatantly show otherwise. The recent racial disparaging allegations made against Native students, parents, Tribal Councils, and Tribal leaders have led to further division and distrust of Tribal-state relations."

"Her disingenuous nature towards Native Americans to further her federal political ambitions is an attack on Tribal sovereignty that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe will not tolerate."

Kristi Noem takes a hit amid string of scandals

The backlash from Indigenous communities comes amid difficult times for Noem.

Once considered a top Donald Trump 2024 vice presidential pick, the governor has sparked outrage over an admission in her memoir that she once shot to death one of her dogs whose behavior she didn't like.

Noem also stirred controversy after falsely claiming in the book that she had met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and had canceled a planned meeting with France's President Emmanuel Macron. The French government has denied the statement.

The Republican has tried to defend her actions, but the negative press may spell trouble for her VP chances.

Cover photo: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP

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