Politics and Government

Final South Dakota tribe bans governor

A woman stands at a podium to speak.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on Feb. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Quick Read

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s decision to ban Gov. Kristi Noem means she is now banned from the lands of all nine tribes’ in her state.

By Amelia Schafer, ICT + Rapid City Journal

This story is republished in partnership with ITC.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is now banned from entering the lands of all nine tribes in South Dakota.

Following a meeting on Tuesday, May 21, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe moved to ban the governor from the reservation in solidarity with the other eight Oceti Sakowin tribes in South Dakota.

The tribal council held an emergency meeting Saturday, May 18, during which no decision was made. On Monday, May 20, tribal leaders met with the governor’s office to further discuss the issue. The next day, the executive council voted to ban Noem.

The decision was made in response to inflammatory comments made by Noem about the tribes since January 31.

“The Executive Committee calls on the governor to reconsider the effectiveness of the liaisons she has appointed and whether or not they truly have an understanding of the issues affecting tribal nations as well as their ability to foster a cooperative relationship between the Tribes and the State of South Dakota,” the Tribe said in a May 21 press release.

Dave Flute, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations, was formerly chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate in northeastern South Dakota.

Several weeks ago, Noem announced the appointment of former Oglala Sioux Tribe Police Chief Algin Young as her new tribal law enforcement liaison.

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe President Tony Reider informed Noem of her banning and requested that she refrain from making future statements that offend all of Indian Country. The tribe also called for an apology from the governor.

On Friday, May 17, Noem held a press conference in Pierre to address her recent banning from at that time eight tribes. During the conference, she again insisted drug cartels are operating on tribal land in the state.

When asked to address other comments she made in Winner, South Dakota, on March 13 regarding Native American education, Noem said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

During the March 13 townhall, Noem said: “Because they live with 80 percent to 90 percent unemployment, their kids don’t have any hope. They don’t have parents who show up and help them. … They have a tribal council or a president who focuses on a political agenda more than they care about actually helping somebody’s life look better.”

All nine tribes have requested Noem apologize for her comments made these past five months and work toward true change and collaboration.

This story is co-published by the Rapid City Journal and ICT, a news partnership that covers Indigenous communities in the South Dakota area.

Volume Button
Now Listening To Livestream
MPR News logo
On Air
MPR News