South Dakota Governor Banned from Sioux Reservation After Her Remarks on the Border


Never let it be said that Indians don’t do irony.

Leaders of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation have banished South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem from their territory over comments Noem made about the disgraceful state of the U.S. border with Mexico, according to news reports.

Apparently, the tribe understands that sovereign nations should control who crosses their borders.

According to The Dakota Scout, a South Dakota news outlet, Noem infuriated the Oglala leaders when she discussed how the porous southern border is contributing to crime in her state, including cartel activity on Indian reservation territory.

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“The cartels are here in South Dakota, and they are perpetuating violence and criminal activity daily on South Dakota families,” Noem said in an address to the state Legislature. “They are killing our children with their drugs and trafficking.”

Apparently, Oglala Sioux Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out has two problems with Noem’s statements.

One was that she specified a criminal gang called the “Ghost Dancers” is responsible for increasing murders in the Rapid City area of southwestern South Dakota, according to The Dakota Scout. The city is about 120 miles from the center of the Pine Ridge Reservation.

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In a blatantly political statement posted to Facebook — one that’s almost head-spinning in its fact-spinning — Star Comes Out accused Noem of smearing Native Americans by her reference to a gang calling itself the “Ghost Dancers.”

Using the Oglala word for “people,” Star Comes Out wrote “I and the Oyate are deeply offended that you alleged that ‘Ghost Dancers’ are affiliated with these cartels. Ghost Dance: one of most [sic] sacred ceremonies was used with blatant disrespect and is insulting to our Oyate.”

The second was that, according to Politico, Noem had said she wanted to send razor wire and South Dakota personnel to help Texas secure its border.

Star Comes Out wrote that “many of the people coming to the Southern border of the United States in search of jobs and a better life are Indian people from such places as El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico and don’t deserve to be dehumanized and mistreated.”

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“They don’t need to be put in cages, separated from their children like during the Trump Administration, or be cut up by razor wire furnished by, of all places, South Dakota,” he wrote.

He claimed Noem was simply trying to further her chances to be former President Donald Trump’s running mate.

The Star Comes Out statement was published to Facebook on Friday, but Noem had already addressed complaints being made by Democratic lawmakers, according to Dakota News Now.

She wasn’t backing down.

“I understand that some of the words, they would have appreciated being changed. The problem is I didn’t name that gang,” she said. “I did speak truth, and everything I said was absolutely true.”

Misplaced anger aside — if a gang calling itself the Altar Boys was terrorizing an Irish Catholic neighborhood, the parish priest would look damn silly criticizing the police chief for calling the gang by its name — what’s really notable about the Star Comes Out letter was the irony of it.

Sioux reservations are sovereign territories. Star Comes Out was writing as the president of a sovereign nation when he declared Noem was not welcome on Oglala Territory.

“Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe!” he wrote.

So, President Star Comes Out has the authority to keep out one woman he considers troublesome “due to the safety of the Oyate,” but the entire United States government under Joe Biden is unwilling to keep out millions and millions of foreigners from all over the world with a secure border to protect the safety of the American people?

The irony is inescapable.

In his letter, Star Comes Out takes great pains to note that the Oglala Sioux Tribe is “neither a Democrat nor Republican tribe; the tribe has to work with whatever administration, Democrat or Republican, that is elected into power.”

That might well be officially true — though the reality might be different.

But when it comes to the juvenile sophistry, intellectual dishonesty and sheer pretension of his statement, there’s no doubt where President Star Comes Out’s politics lie: That letter has “Democrat” written all over it.

And when it comes to actually banning a sitting governor over her statements supporting a strong border, it’s got something else, too.

Never let it be said that Indians don’t do irony.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.