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South Dakota governor banned from Pine Ridge Reservation

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC22) in Orlando, Florida, in February 2022. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC22) in Orlando, Florida, in February 2022. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has been banned from the Pine Ridge Reservation after saying she wanted to send razor wire and security personnel to Texas to help that state's effort to deter immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

She also claimed cartels are infiltrating South Dakota's reservations.

"Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe!" Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out said in a Friday statement addressed to Noem. "Oyate" is an Indigenous word for nation or people.

Noem made her remarks in a speech to lawmakers Wednesday during which she said a gang known as the Ghost Dancers is murdering people on the Pine Ridge Reservation and is also affiliated with border-crossing cartels that use South Dakota reservations to spread drugs throughout the Midwest.

Star Comes Out argued that Noem was trying to use the border issue to garner support from former U.S. President Donald Trump and better her chances of becoming his running mate in the presidential election.

Governor-elect Kristi Noem of South Dakota speaks during a meeting hosted by former President Donald J. Trump at the White House in Washington in 2018. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
Governor-elect Kristi Noem of South Dakota speaks during a meeting hosted by former President Donald J. Trump at the White House in Washington in 2018. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI

Noem responded to Star Comes Out's statement later in the week.

"As I told bipartisan Native American legislators earlier this week, 'I am not the one with a stiff arm, here. You can't build relationships if you don't spend time together,'" she said. "I stand ready to work with any of our state's Native American tribes to build such a relationship."

Many of the Indigenous people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico who come "in search of jobs and a better life," Stars Come Out said.

"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 said.

Star Comes Out took deep offense at the governor's statement saying the Ghost Dance is one of the Oglala Sioux's "most sacred ceremonies." He said Noem's state "was used with blatant disrespect and is insulting to our Oyate."

He added that the tribe is a sovereign nation and does not belong to the state of South Dakota.

My focus continues to be on working together to solve those problems," Noen responded Sunday.

Star Comes Out declared a state of emergency on the reservation in November 2023 responding to increasing crime on the reservation.

A judge ruled last year that the federal government must support law enforcement on the reservation, but did not rule on the funding to pay for it, which the tribe had requested.

Noem has deployed National Guard troops to the Mexican border three times. Other Republican governors have done the same. She accepted a $1 million donation from a GOP donor in 2021 to help pay for a two-month deployment of 48 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico line.