South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem used part of her speech last week to an emergency special joint session of the legislature on the situation at the U-S border with Mexico to pledge support for the Oglala Sioux Tribe, but it has now backfired.
Instead of improving her long rocky relationship with the tribe, she’s been banned from coming onto the Pine Ridge Reservation.
The tribe is suing the federal government to increase spending for law enforcement on the reservation, and Noem said she and the state would do all they can to help the tribe deal with drugs and violence she blamed on Mexican cartels.
OST President Frank Star Comes Out says he’s “deeply offended” Noem said a gang called the Ghost Dancers is murdering people on the reservation and is affiliated with border-crossing cartels.
President Star Comes Out says the Ghost Dance is one of the tribe’s “most sacred ceremonies” and that Noem used it “blatant disrespect and is insulting to our Oyate,” the Lakota word for people or nation
. He also accused her of trying to use the border issue to help get Donald Trump elected president and boost her chances of becoming his running mate.
Noem responded Saturday, saying “It is unfortunate that President (Star) Comes Out chose to bring politics into a discussion regarding the effects of our federal government’s failure to enforce federal laws at the southern border and on tribal lands.
Noem said her focus “continues to be on working together to solve those problems.” adding that as she told Native American members of the legislature ‘I am not the one with a stiff arm, here. You can’t build relationships if you don’t spend time together.”
The governor added “I stand ready to work with any of our state’s Native American tribes to build such a relationship.”