South Dakota Governor ‘Banished’ From Tribe's Lands After Comments On Migrant Crisis

"Effective immediately, you are hereby banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe," the tribe's president wrote to Gov. Kristi Noem.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) was formally “banished” from the lands of the state’s largest tribe on Friday, after the governor decried what Republicans have described as a crisis on the U.S. border.

Frank Star Comes Out, the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, said in a statement that Noem would no longer be welcome on the Pine Ridge Reservation, following a speech she gave before state lawmakers last week. In her address, Noem described the ongoing migrant crisis at the southern border as an “invasion” and said she hoped to send razor wire and security personnel to Texas.

Star Comes Out, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, rejected Noem’s claims and said he believed the governor was using “Indian people and reservations … as a basis to create a bogus border crisis.” He added he believed Noem was attempting to help former President Donald Trump get elected, and wants him to see her as a possible running mate.

“I believe that many of the people coming to the southern border of the United States in search of jobs and a better life are Indian people from such places as El Salvador, [Guatemala] and Mexico and don’t deserve to be dehumanized and mistreated,” Star Comes Out said. They “don’t need to be put in cages, separated from their children … or be cut up by razor wire furnished by, of all places, South Dakota.”

Noem said it was “unfortunate” that Star Comes Out “chose to bring politics into a discussion regarding the effects of our federal government’s failure to enforce federal laws at the southern border and on tribal lands.”

The governor had previously been barred from the Pine Ridge Reservation in 2019 amid a conflict over the Keystone XL pipeline. The ban was removed later in the year and the pipeline project was canceled in 2021.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe declared a state of emergency in November on the Pine Ridge Reservation amid an increase in crime. But Star Comes Out said these issues were not solely the Biden administration’s fault, and had still persisted under the Trump administration. He also blamed “gridlock, primarily caused by the Republican controlled House of Representatives that has refused to pass a budget that would allow for more police officers on the reservation.”

“We are a sovereign nation and we are not your tribe,” Star Comes Out added, using the word “Oyate,” meaning people or nation. “Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.”

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