Kristi Noem Banned From Tribal Reservation

( – The president of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation recently reaffirmed that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is unwelcome on tribal lands. The American Indian nation banned her from entering its reservation in response to a speech the governor made on the southern border. She reportedly offended the Oglala nations by referring to a cartel gang that calls itself “Ghost Dancers,” which tribal leaders viewed as an attack on a sacred aspect of their culture.

Native News Online reports that a speech Noem gave on January 31, which focused on the current battle in Texas to keep stretches of razor wire intact along the border, offended members of Pine Ridge. Oglala Sioux Tribe President Frank Star stated that the people Noem and other hard-right conservatives are working to keep from entering the US are fellow American Indians from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and other less-advantaged countries.

Star shared a four-page statement on the matter on Facebook on February 2. He slammed Noem for comparing illegal entries into the country to an “invasion,” calling her language a “red herring.” He also condemned her allegations that the Biden administration alone was responsible for the border crisis, insisting that bipartisan failures were to blame. The tribal president added that Noem’s insistence that reservation lands were being used for cartel drug distribution was misleading because the substances were coming into native territory from all sorts of non-tribal sources in other states.

The mention of “Ghost Dancers” in the context of cartel activity only added insult to injury, according to Star. Ghost Dancers are an important part of Lakota Sioux history. They’re viewed as part of a religious movement that began around 1890 and represented hope to a suffering nation.

Noem issued a statement in response to the ban. The governor stated that she’s been trying to build a relationship with tribal leaders, noting that she, alongside state agencies, has worked hard to ensure healthcare, food programs, addiction treatment, suicide prevention, and other services are available to reservation residents. She also doubled down on her assertions that tribal lands have been the hardest hit by Mexican cartel drug and human trafficking and insisted that she just wants to help.

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