Tribal Councils Unite: Gov. Kristi Noem Barred from All South Dakota Tribes

Tribal Councils Unite: Gov. Kristi Noem Barred from All South Dakota Tribes

The nine native tribes in South Dakota have all decided to forbid Governor Kristi Noem from entering their territories.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe executive council made a decision on Tuesday to prevent the Republican governor from visiting the tribe’s reservation.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sent a summary of its president’s conversations with Noem prior to the vote in response to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The transcript states that Flandreau President Tony Reider summoned an emergency meeting last weekend in response to Noem’s remarks.

There were “contentious moments during the meeting, as some members voiced their opposition.” Reider then arranged for a meeting to be held on Monday with the governor’s office. It was a “respectful and productive” talk.

“President Reider informed the governor that a ban from our territories is imminent and requested that the Governor refrain from making future blanket statements that offend the tribes within the boundaries of the State of South Dakota, some of which depend on state services for the needs of their people. It was recommended that the Governor clarify her statements and issue an apology to all tribal nations for the misunderstanding,” the readout stated. “Until such a time, the Executive Council and the people of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe stand with our fellow nations.”

Tribes with reservations extending into South Dakota moved to stop Noem from entering their territory as a result of remarks she made earlier this year, and that vote bookended a cascade of actions.

She stated at a town hall that tribal chiefs were giving the drug cartels in the state preferential treatment and were using their influence to make money rather than raising their own children on the reservations.

Since then, Noem has reiterated her claim that there were numerous Mexican drug cartels operating on South Dakota’s Native American reservations.

Following those remarks, tribes began to condemn Noem and vote to exclude the governor from their territories. The Flandreau Santee Sioux officials were under pressure from the community to take action, according to The Argus Leader of South Dakota.


The governor stated in a statement on Wednesday that she wished to continue working with tribal leaders, although she did not specifically address the restriction.

“I only want to speak truth to the real challenges that are being faced in some areas of Indian Country. I want to focus on solutions that lead to safer communities for all our families, educational outcomes for all our children, and declining addiction numbers for all our people. We cannot tackle these issues without addressing the problem: dangerous criminals who perpetuate violence and illegal activities in all areas of our state,” Noem stated. “We need to take action. It is my hope tribal leadership will take the opportunity to work with me to be an example of how cooperation is better for all people rather than political attacks.”

Noem hasn’t toned down her criticism of Mexican cartels and tribes. Rather, she has consistently emphasized the significance of border security and issued warnings about an alleged immigrant “invasion” along the Southern border between Texas and Mexico.

Noem has planned a press conference to discuss border security and South Dakota’s implications.

“Banishing me does nothing to solve this problem or to help those who are suffering horrific tragedies.” Noem stated. “Yesterday, I returned home from the dangerous, deadly warzone at our nation’s Southern Border. South Dakota National Guard soldiers have helped the Texas National Guard construct miles of border wall in 100-degree weather to keep the American people safe – and keep cartel-driven drugs and human trafficking out of our great country.”

Noem and other high-ranking South Dakota officials have been announcing new initiatives for tribal law enforcement for the past few months.

To expedite local law enforcement training, Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley launched a certification program in April.

Additionally, Noem appointed Algin Young—who served as the Pine Ridge Reservation’s previous chief of police—as South Dakota’s Tribal Law Enforcement Liaison earlier this month.


With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.