Kristi Noem Is Now Banned in 20% of the State She Governs

Another 2 South Dakota tribes ban governor over comments she made in March
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2024 3:57 PM CDT
Kristi Noem Is Now Banned in 20% of the State She Governs
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at CPAC at the National Harbor on Feb. 23 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is now banned from entering nearly 20% of her state after two more tribes banished her this week over comments she made earlier this year about tribal leaders benefitting from drug cartels, reports the AP.

  • What she said: "We've got some tribal leaders that I believe are personally benefitting from the cartels being there, and that's why they attack me every day," Noem said at a forum in March. "But I'm going to fight for the people who actually live in those situations, who call me and text me every day and say, 'Please, dear governor, please come help us in Pine Ridge. We are scared.'"

  • The bans: The Yankton Sioux Tribe voted Friday to ban Noem from their land in southeastern South Dakota, just a few days after the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe took the same action. The Oglala, Rosebud, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock Sioux tribes had already taken action to keep her off their reservations. Three other tribes haven't yet banned her. "If you look at a map, she basically has to stay on the interstate," Lakota Law Project director Chase Iron Eyes told the Daily Beast.
  • One take: Political observer Cal Jillson, who's based at Southern Methodist University, says of this tribal dispute that Noem seems to be "stoking it actively, which suggests that she sees a political benefit. I'm sure that Gov. Noem doesn't mind a focus on tensions with the Native Americans in South Dakota, because if we're not talking about that, we're talking about her shooting the dog."
  • But it's probably not helping her chances as Donald Trump's VP: "I think that the chaos that Trump revels in is the chaos he creates. Chaos created by somebody else simply detracts attention from himself," Jillson says. University of South Dakota political science professor Michael Card said that if it isn't the vice president slot, it's not clear what's in Noem's political future, as she's prevented from running for another term as governor. She could go after Sen. Mike Rounds' seat or try to return to the House of Representatives.
(More Kristi Noem stories.)

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