South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been banned from the Oglala Sioux tribal land on the Pine Ridge Reservations over statements she made in the South Dakota legislature about Mexican cartels operating on tribal lands.
“The cartels are here in South Dakota, and they are perpetuating violence and criminal activity daily on South Dakota families,” Noem said during a rare joint address to the Legislature. “They are killing our children with their drugs and trafficking.”
Noem said proof of cartel activity could be found in the spike in murders in Rapid City by cartel members calling themselves “Ghost Dancers.”
But the Sioux took issue with Noem using that sacred term in connection with drug cartels and banned her from the reservation.
“I and the Oyate are deeply offended that you alleged the “Ghost Dancers” are affiliated with these cartels,” OST President Frank Star Comes Out said in a statement issued by the tribe Friday.
Noem issued a response, saying: “It is unfortunate that President 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. My focus continues to be on working together to solve those problems.” .
Mr. Star Comes Out forgot to mention that he and the tribe declared a state of emergency last November in the midst of a crime wave involving drugs and guns. Whether the increase in crime was the result of cartel activity or not is in dispute.
What isn’t in dispute is that crime and criminal gangs in South Dakota can be traced to the porous border.
Star Comes Out accused Noem of trying to use the border issue to help get former U.S. President Donald Trump re-elected and boost her chances of becoming his running mate.
Many of those arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are Indigenous people from places like El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico who come “in search of jobs and a better life,” the tribal leader added.
“They don’t need to be put in cages, separated from their children like during the Trump Administration, or be cut up by razor wire furnished by, of all places, South Dakota,” he said.
Logic left the building long ago.
Somehow, I don’t think Noem’s advocacy of border security will matter much to Trump. South Dakota is thousands of miles from the border, and there’s nothing much Noem can contribute as a practical matter to border security.
What matters to Trump is how much stronger the GOP ticket can be with her on it. In her favor, she’s a woman and is a loyal Trump supporter. Not in her favor is South Dakota is a tiny state as far as the Electoral College is concerned and Trump will carry it easily anyway.
But some intangibles might sway Trump to choose her. She certainly wouldn’t be able to upstage him, and she was a fairly early supporter. She’s also appealing because of her Midwestern roots.
I think if Trump is going to go with a woman it will be Rep Elise Stefanik. She’s been the most devoted of his followers in Congress, and despite being from the same state as Trump (New York) is perhaps the strongest female candidate available.