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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was banned from the Pine Ridge Reservation this week after speaking about wanting to bolster the U.S.-Mexico border by sending razor wire and security personnel to Texas, adding that cartels are infiltrating the state’s reservations.
Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out issued a statement on social media on Friday regarding Noem’s comments.
“Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe,” Tribe President Star Comes Out said in a Friday statement addressed to Noem. “Oyate” is a word for people or nation.
Star Comes Out angrily declared in his four-page statement on Friday, “Calling the United States’ southern border in Texas an “invasion” by illegal immigrants and criminal groups to justify sending S.D. National Guard troops there is a red herring that the Oglala Sioux Tribe doesn’t support.”
“The truth of the matter is that Governor Noem wants [to] use the so-called “invasion” of the southern border as a Republican “crisis” issue to help get former President Donald Trump to use it as a campaign issue to get re-elected as President, and in turn increase her chances of being selected by Trump to be his running mate as Vice-President,” the tribal leader claimed.
In a fiery conclusion, he wrote to Noem, “Furthermore, we are a sovereign nation and We are not your Tribe! We are our own nation and we do not belong to the State of South Dakota! We are older than South Dakota. Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe!”
Noem responded with a statement of her own on Saturday.
“I’ve worked with our state’s Native American tribes for 6 years as Governor and for 8 years in Congress. I stand ready to continue building relationships, but you can’t build relationships if you don’t spend time together,” she wrote.
I’ve worked with our state’s Native American tribes for 6 years as Governor and for 8 years in Congress.
I stand ready to continue building relationships, but you can’t build relationships if you don’t spend time together.
Read my full statement here:https://t.co/3buYbLPLMI
— Governor Kristi Noem (@GovKristiNoem) February 3, 2024
Below is Noem’s full statement, as posted on her official website:
”In my first year serving as Governor, I repeatedly visited Pine Ridge to work on relationships between the State of South Dakota and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. I wanted to work with them on a number of issues – I still do. In my last visit to Pine Ridge, as I was speaking before an assembly, one gentleman said to me, ‘Governor Noem, I hear lots of bad things about you. And I believe them. But you’re coming here so much now, I’m starting to think that you care.’ Shortly after that meeting, I was banned from the tribe.
“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. My focus continues to be on working together to solve those problems.
“I have been working for years to build relationships with our tribes. My state agencies and departments have worked with tribal leaders on a daily basis to deliver services to tribal communities including healthcare, economic development, social services, housing, food programs, suicide prevention, drug addiction treatment, infrastructure costs, and emergency response.
“I am grateful to have celebrated the hanging of two tribal flags in honor in the Capitol Rotunda last month – we are close to having more flags and look forward to holding the next ceremony soon. We have signed gaming compacts, and the first two bills that I signed this legislative session prioritize relationships between the State and our tribes.
“These relationships are by no means perfect; there is still disagreement at times. Any relationship takes work and consistent effort.
“In my speech to the legislature earlier this week, I told the truth of the devastation that drugs and human trafficking have on our state and our people. The Mexican cartels are not only impacting our tribal reservations; they are impacting every community, from our big cities to our small towns. But our tribal reservations are bearing the worst of that in South Dakota. Speaking this fact is not meant to blame the tribes in any way – they are the victim here. They are the victim of cartel-driven criminal activity, and they are the victim of inaction by the federal government.
“I also recognize and said in my border address that issues with tribal law enforcement predate the Biden Administration. I had conversations about these issues with former Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr. In my experience, unlike the current administration, the previous administration was willing to have conversations about how we can work together to address these challenges.
“I thank President Star Comes out for his service in our nation’s military. As I told bipartisan Native American legislators earlier this week, ‘I am not the one with a stiff arm, here. You can’t build relationships if you don’t spend time together.’ I stand ready to work with any of our state’s Native American tribes to build such a relationship.”
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