A South Dakota tribe banned Gov. Kristi Noem (R) from its reservation after she delivered remarks on the U.S.-Mexico border last week, with the tribe’s leader suggesting the governor is using the border to help former President Trump’s bid for the White House.
“Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe!” Frank Star Comes Out, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, wrote in a statement addressed to Noem. “Oyate” means people or nation, according to The Associated Press.
Noem delivered remarks to South Dakota’s state Legislature last week, where she said she is looking into sending more state resources to Texas amid an influx of migrants at the border, The Associated Press reported. She also blamed President Biden for the situation at the border — a claim that Star Comes Out suggested was politically motivated.
“I joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served honorably in foreign wars to protect the freedoms of all Americans, even Indians throughout the nation. I don’t [want] to see our Indian people and reservations used as a basis to create a bogus border crisis just to help Trump get re-elected as President and Governor Noem his running mate as Vice-President,” Star Comes Out said.
The tribe leader pushed back on Noem’s suggestion to send more South Dakota National Guard troops and more resources, such as razor wire, to Texas due to what she called an “invasion” at the border. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has doubled down on his declaration of an invasion at the border in recent weeks, arguing that Texas has a right to defend itself.
“Thus, calling the United States’ southern border in Texas an ‘invasion’ by illegal immigrants and criminal groups to justify sending S.D. National Guard troops there is a red herring that the Oglala Sioux Tribe doesn’t support,” Star Comes Out wrote.
He also said many of the migrants crossing into the United States “don’t deserve to be dehumanized and mistreated,” noting that many of them are seeking employment and a better life.
“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.
Noem responded in a statement to Star Comes Out.
“It is unfortunate that President Star Comes Out chose to bring politics into a discussion regarding the effects of our federal government’s failure to enforce federal laws at the southern border and on tribal lands. My focus continues to be on working together to solve those problems,” Noem said.
She also defended her comments, saying that the tribes are one of the communities most affected by the surge in migrants.
“In my speech to the legislature earlier this week, I told the truth of the devastation that drugs and human trafficking have on our state and our people,” she said. “The Mexican cartels are not only impacting our tribal reservations; they are impacting every community, from our big cities to our small towns.”
“But our tribal reservations are bearing the worst of that in South Dakota. Speaking this fact is not meant to blame the tribes in any way — they are the victim here. They are the victim of cartel-driven criminal activity, and they are the victim of inaction by the federal government,” she added.
The Associated Press contributed.
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