Republican governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota has been officially barred by the Oglala Sioux Tribe from the Pine Ridge Reservation. The tribe cited Noem’s recent remarks regarding immigration and allegations of cartel infiltration in the state’s reservations.
Statements Regarding Immigration Raise Tensions
After tying cartels to the state’s reservations, Governor Noem’s support for deploying razor wire and security forces to Texas to strengthen border security between the United States and Mexico caused a stir.
Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out denounced these statements, saying they were detrimental to Indigenous peoples trying to improve their lot in life in the United States and politically motivated.
Sacred Rituals and Authority
The phrase “Ghost Dancers,” which Noem used to allude to a gang that was purportedly engaged in violent actions on the reservation, particularly offended the tribe.
The Oglala Sioux view the Ghost Dance as a sacred ceremony, and Star Comes Out made it clear that Noem’s remarks were offensive and disrespectful. He emphasized the tribe’s autonomy once again by declaring that the Pine Ridge Reservation was outside of state authority.
Noem’s Reaction and Persistent Problems
Governor Noem said that she regretted the conversation going political and reiterated her desire to work with Native American tribes on border security and issues about tribal lands.
Despite this, she has been under fire for her prior acts, which included sending National Guard troops to the Mexican border, for militarizing and politicizing efforts to secure the border.
Question for Debate
Should state governors be able to influence federal immigration laws and policies, particularly when those actions affect Native American tribes and their territories?