close
close

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has now been banned from all tribal lands in her home state

All nine of South Dakota’s indigenous tribes have voted to expel Governor Kristi Noem from their lands.

On Tuesday, the executive council of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe voted in favor of excluding the Republican governor from its reservation.

In response to a request for comment on Wednesday, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sent a readout of the president’s interactions with Noem ahead of the vote. Flandreau President Tony Reider called an emergency meeting last weekend in response to Noem’s comments, according to the readout. The meeting was “controversial at times, as some members expressed opposition.” Afterward, Reider arranged a meeting with the governor’s office, which took place Monday. That conversation was “respectful and productive.”

“President Reider informed the Governor that a ban on our territories is imminent and requested that the Governor refrain from making blanket statements in the future that offend the tribes within the borders of the State of South Dakota, some of which are dependent of state services for the needs of their population. their people. It was recommended that the Governor clarify her statements and issue an apology to all tribal nations for the misunderstanding,” the readout said. “Until then, the Executive Council and the people of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe stand with our fellow Americans.”

That vote set off a ripple effect from tribes with reservations stretching into South Dakota moving to prevent Noem from setting foot on their land, spurred by comments she made earlier this year. During a town hall, she argued that tribal leaders were taking advantage of the state’s drug cartels and prioritizing those cartels over raising children on their reservations. Noem has since doubled down, saying Mexican drug cartels are rampant on Native American reservations in South Dakota.

Those comments set off a domino effect with tribes denouncing Noem and voting to ban the governor from their states. According to The Argus Leader of South Dakota, leaders of the Flandreau Santee Sioux received pressure from local citizens to do something in response to Noem’s comments.

In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, the governor did not directly address the ban but said she hoped to work with tribal leaders in the future.

“I just want to speak the truth about the real challenges facing some parts of Indian Country. I want to focus on solutions that lead to safer communities for all our families, educational outcomes for all our children, and declining addiction rates for all our people. We cannot address these issues without addressing the problem: dangerous criminals who perpetuate violence and illegal activity in all parts of our state,” Noem said in the statement. “We have to take action. I hope the tribal leadership will take the opportunity to work with me and set an example of how cooperation is better for all people than political attacks.”

Earlier in May, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe voted to ban Noem from reservation lands. The Standing Rock Sioux, Crow Creek Sioux, Rosebud, Cheyenne River Sioux, Oglala Sioux and Lower Brule Sioux tribes all had similar votes earlier this year.

The votes came as Noem found himself in the national spotlight for anecdotes from her recently released book detailing how she killed her 14-month-old wirehaired pointer, named Cricket, and an unnamed goat. The book included anecdotes about Noem meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and canceling a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Noem and colleagues have now indicated that the Kim anecdote did not happen and should not have been in the book. French officials have denied that such a meeting between Macron and the governor of South Dakota while she was a member of Congress ever took place.

Before her book came out, Noem’s name was listed on the shortlist to become Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick in 2024. But her status has faded.

Noem has not softened her rhetoric about tribes and Mexican cartels. Instead, she has repeatedly emphasized the importance of border security and warned that the southern border between Texas and Mexico was facing an “invasion” of immigrants. Noem has scheduled a news conference on border security and its implications for South Dakota.

“Banning me will do nothing to solve this problem or help those suffering horrific tragedies,” Noem said in a statement from her office last week. “Yesterday I returned home from the dangerous, deadly war zone on our country’s southern border. South Dakota National Guard soldiers helped the Texas National Guard build miles of border wall in 100-degree weather to keep the American people safe – and cartel-driven drug and human trafficking out of our great country.”

In recent months, Noem and other top South Dakota officials have announced new programs to enforce tribal law. In April, Noem and Attorney General Marty Jackley introduced a certification program to accelerate training for local law enforcement. And earlier this month, Noem named Algin Young, formerly the chief of police on the Pine Ridge Reservation, as South Dakota’s tribal law enforcement liaison.

For more CNN news and newsletters, create an account at CNN.com