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South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been banned from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, marking the third such prohibition from tribal nations this year. The decision follows remarks she made suggesting some tribal leaders may be complicit with Mexican drug cartel activities.

The Standing Rock Tribal Council enacted the ban after a vote on Wednesday, according to the South Dakota Searchlight.

Attachment Kristinoem

The tribe, which spans North Dakota and South Dakota borders, voiced concerns through Tribal Chair Janet Alkire. In her statement, Alkire criticized the governor’s comments as “irresponsible” and reflective of “fear-based politics” that fail to foster cooperation or problem-solving. Alkire emphasized the importance of collaboration between state and tribal leadership to enhance law enforcement and educational resources within tribal territories.

The controversy began escalating after Governor Noem spoke in February about issues at the US-Mexico border, subsequently leading to her ban from the lands of the Oglala Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes. These bans now encompass approximately 10% of South Dakota’s land area, significantly impacting the governor’s accessibility to these regions.

In response to the bans and ongoing issues, Governor Noem proposed a new initiative this summer: a law enforcement training course to address public safety within tribal communities. While acknowledging that the program would not solve all problems, she described it as a vital step forward.


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