The Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota has banned Governor Kristi Noem from their lands for the second time in five years after her comments about immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border “offended” the tribal president. The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Frank Star Comes Out, declared the Pine Ridge Reservation off-limits to Gov. Noem on Friday after she announced that she was sending razor wire and security personnel to Texas and accused unauthorized immigration of harming reservations. In a statement posted on social media, Star Comes Out used the word “Oyate,” which means “people” or “nation,” to declare Gov. Noem banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, emphasizing that the tribe is a sovereign nation protected by the United States.
Star Comes Out accused Noem of using the border issue to influence Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and improve her chances of becoming his running mate, alleging that Noem was bringing politics into a discussion about the effects of the federal government’s failure to enforce laws regarding immigration on tribal lands. Star Comes Out highlighted that the Oglala Sioux Tribe declared a state of emergency on the Pine Ridge Reservation due to increasing crime in November and that the opioids and human trafficking that Noem described are affecting all of South Dakota and surrounding states, not just the reservations. It was reported that Gov. Noem was previously barred from Pine Ridge Reservation in 2019 during a dispute over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
In her response to the ban, Noem stated her desire to work on relationships between the state and the Oglala Sioux and said that “you can’t build relationships if you don’t spend time together.” Despite the controversy, Noem did not address Star Comes Out’s claim about her jockeying for the vice presidency. There were also comments on the potential for Noem to be considered as Trump’s running mate in the 2024 presidential election, indicating a high level of political significance surrounding the entire issue.
As the ongoing dispute continues, it remains to be seen whether the relationship and dialogue between Governor Noem and the Oglala Sioux Tribe can be repaired or if further political developments will affect their interaction.