Kristi Noem: Trump VP banned from six Native American reservations

  • By Sam Cabral
  • BBC News, Washington

image source, Getty Images

image description, Kristi Noem has faced bipartisan criticism in recent weeks

Two Indian tribes in South Dakota have barred their governor, Kristi Noem, from their lands because she made derogatory comments against tribal leaders and reservation life.

The latest bans add to existing exclusions from four other reservations this year. Ms. Noem is now banned from almost a fifth of the national territory.

This came after the Republican canceled a disastrous national media book tour.

Ms. Noem was once a leading candidate for Donald Trump's candidacy this year.

Less than three months ago, she was leading a poll of candidates running for vice president in November's election. However, a number of recent controversies, including the story of her shooting a dog, have drawn bipartisan criticism.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and Yankton Sioux tribes passed separate resolutions on Friday banning Ms. Noem from entering their territory.

The tribes joined the Cheyenne River Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Rosebud Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux tribes and made the head of state an outlaw on their land. That means six of South Dakota's nine Native American tribes now deny her entry.

Tribal governments have the sovereign right to exclude non-tribal members from their lands, with tribal law enforcement prepared to intervene if necessary.

As governor, Ms. Noem, 52, often came into conflict with those authorities. While tribal and federal authorities have criminal jurisdiction over reservations, they have sought to expand the state's power.

She was banned from the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council in 2019 after signing an anti-riot law in response to local-led protests against the Keystone XL pipeline, and then again earlier this year for rhetoric linking illegal immigration to crime in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The governor also ignored tribes' objections to fireworks over Mount Rushmore in 2020 and clashed with tribal leaders after they set up coronavirus checkpoints to control visits to their reservations.

Most recently, she claimed that local children had “no hope” because their parents were absent and suggested, without evidence, that tribal leaders “personally profited from drug cartel operators.”

“Governor Kristi Noem’s wild and irresponsible attempt to link tribal leaders and parents to Mexican drug cartels is a sad reflection of her fear-based politics that does nothing to bring people together to solve problems,” said Standing Rock Chairwoman Janet Alkire Sioux wrote in a lengthy five-page rebuke in March.

A spokesman for Ms. Noem told the BBC that “Governor Noem's banishment does nothing to solve the problem… it calls on all of our tribal leaders to ban the cartels from tribal lands.”

image source, Getty Images

image description, Ms. Noem was an early supporter of Donald Trump's re-election

It's the latest embarrassment for the Republican Party's former rising star.

In her new book, No Going Back, Ms. Noem tells how she shot her 14-month-old dog, Cricket, because of bad behavior. She also killed a goat that she said smelled and was mean.

The governor said the shootings were examples of her willingness to do things that were “difficult, messy and ugly.”

In another passage, later removed, Ms. Noem claimed she was in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea and “stared at Kim Jong Un.” There are no public records of either action.

She also claimed that she had “planned a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron” during a visit to Paris, but failed to meet because of alleged “pro-Hamas” comments he made in the press.

A French government official said there was no record of a planned meeting or an invitation.

Ms. Noem has pushed back against what she calls left-wing “spin,” but her attempts at damage control have failed across the political spectrum. Several interviews have now been canceled.

Last week, Mr. Trump acknowledged that Ms. Noem had “a tough few days” but said he liked her “a lot” and noted that she “supported me from the beginning.”

However, according to US media, Trump insiders say she has “squandered her chances” of becoming his vice president.

Anna Harden

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