On February 5, 2024 at 6:40 AM EST, CBS/AP reported that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was campaigning for former President Donald Trump in Iowa. This comes after a statement from the Oglala Sioux Tribe banning Noem from the Pine Ridge Reservation due to her recent comments about sending razor wire and security personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border to deter immigration and her claims that cartels are infiltrating the state’s reservations.

In a statement addressed to Noem, Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out announced that she is “Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe” due to concerns for the safety of the tribe. Star Comes Out accused Noem of using the border issue to help Trump get re-elected and boost her chances of becoming his running mate. He also pointed out that many of those arriving at the border are Indigenous people in search of a better life, and they should not be treated inhumanely.

Noem’s remarks in a speech to lawmakers on Wednesday, in which she referenced a gang called the Ghost Dancers and their alleged affiliation with border-crossing cartels, also drew criticism from Star Comes Out. He stated that the Ghost Dance is a sacred ceremony for the Oglala Sioux and Noem’s use of it was disrespectful and insulting.

In response to the ban, Noem released a statement on Saturday, stating that it is unfortunate that politics were brought into the discussion about the federal government’s failure to enforce laws at the border and on tribal lands. She reiterated her focus on working together to address these issues.

It is important to note that the Oglala Sioux Tribe is a sovereign nation and does not belong to the state of South Dakota. The issue of drug and human trafficking is not limited to reservations, but is a problem throughout the state and surrounding areas. The tribe should not be blamed for the spread of drugs, and Noem’s comments were seen as disrespectful and offensive.  

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