South Dakota Governor Banned From Indian Reservation After Remarks On Southern Border

 February 4, 2024

In a striking move that has captured national attention, the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Frank Star Comes Out, has officially barred South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem from entering the Pine Ridge Reservation.

This ban comes in the wake of Noem's controversial comments linking criminal activities on reservations to broader immigration issues and her plans to fortify the US-Mexico border.

Controversial comments spark significant backlash

The core of the controversy stems from Governor Noem's recent statements to lawmakers, where she expressed a desire to dispatch additional security resources and razor wire to the US-Mexico border.

Her remarks extended to accusations of cartel infiltrations within South Dakota reservations, specifically mentioning a gang called the "Ghost Dancers." This nomenclature, deeply rooted in the sacred ceremonies of the Oglala Sioux, was deemed highly disrespectful by Star Comes Out, who emphasized the importance of these rituals to his people.

Frank Star Comes Out criticized the governor's remarks: "Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe!" He further elaborated on the misuse of the term "Ghost Dancers," underscoring its sacred status and denouncing its association with criminal elements. This mischaracterization, according to Star Comes Out, not only disrespected their cultural practices but also inaccurately portrayed the tribe's members and heritage.

A dispute laden with political undertones

The banishment of Governor Noem by the Oglala Sioux Tribe's leadership is not merely about the misuse of cultural references. It also highlights a deeper political rift, with Star Comes Out accusing Noem of politicizing border security to gain favor with former President Trump and potentially secure a vice-presidential nomination. This accusation points to a broader issue of political maneuvers impacting Indigenous communities, who often find themselves at the crossroads of national debates on immigration and security.

Noem's response to the banishment and the ensuing criticism was swift. She lamented the politicization of the discussion, emphasizing her readiness to collaborate with Native American tribes in South Dakota.

Her statements reflect an intention to bridge divides, yet they also underscore the complexity of engaging with sovereign nations on contentious issues such as border security and law enforcement.

Indigenous perspectives on immigration and security

Frank Star Comes Out, the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe has banned Governor Kristi Noem from entering the Pine Ridge Reservation, a decision propelled by Noem's controversial remarks connecting reservation crime to immigration issues and her border security plans.

Noem's comments, particularly her use of the term "Ghost Dancers," deeply offended the Oglala Sioux due to its sacred cultural significance, prompting Star Comes Out to declare her banishment for the safety of his people and to protest her portrayal of the tribe.

This ban reflects the offense taken by the misuse of culturally significant terms and hints at a deeper political discord. Star Comes Out suggests Noem's stance on border security may be aimed at currying favor with national political figures. Noem responded to the ban by expressing a desire to work together with Native American tribes despite the tensions her comments have caused.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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