South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem locked out of nearly 20% of her state: report

Kristi Noem.
John Lamparski | Getty Images

  • South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been locked out of nearly 20% of her state, The Associated Press reported.
  • It comes after her controversial comments linking tribal leaders and drug cartels.
  • The bans build on pre-existing tensions stemming from Noem’s anti-protest stance and COVID-19 conflicts.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is now barred from entering nearly 20% of her state, The Associated Press reported.

The governor is now banned from land belonging to the Yankton Sioux Tribe and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe, adding to her previous bans on the Oglala, Rosebud, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux reservations strains, according to the report.

These measures mean that Noem will be denied access to the reservations of six of the state’s nine Native American tribes.

It follows her controversial comments linking drug cartels and tribal leaders.

“We have a number of tribal leaders who I believe personally benefit from the presence of the cartels, and that is why they attack me every day,” Noem said at a forum, according to The AP.

“But I’m going to fight for the people who actually live in these situations, who call and text me every day and say, ‘Please, dear governor, please come help us in Pine Ridge. We are scared,’” she says. added.

Tribes have dismissed Noem’s comments, with Oglala Sioux Tribal President Frank Star Comes Out saying: “How dare the Governor claim that Sioux Tribal Councils do not care about their communities or their children, and worse, that they are involved in nefarious activities? The AP reported this earlier.

Janet Alkire, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, added: “Governor Kristi Noem’s wild and irresponsible attempt to connect tribal leaders and parents with Mexican drug cartels is a sad reflection of her fear-based politics that do nothing to bringing people together to solve problems.”

Noem’s tense relationship with the tribes predates her governorship, beginning with her support for anti-protest legislation after the Dakota Access Pipeline protests near Standing Rock in 2016.

Subsequent clashes over COVID-19 checkpoints exacerbated tensions between the governor and local tribes.

Native Americans march to a sacred burial ground disturbed by bulldozers building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on September 4, 2016.
ROBYN BECK | Getty Images

Noem recently came under fire for admitting that she killed her dog a few decades ago because it was untrainable and overly aggressive, in what many saw as a major publicity blow during her campaign to become Donald Trump’s running mate.

But six people close to the former president told Politico that Noem had already been out of the running before the revelation — though they did not completely rule out her bid.

Trump seemingly stood by the governor amid the backlash, saying of Noem: “Someone I love. She’s been with me, a supporter of mine, and I’ve been a supporter of hers for a long time.”