South Dakota Governor Kristi Nem was banned from Oglala Sioux tribal lands on the Pine Ridge Reservations after she made statements in the South Dakota Legislature about Mexican cartels that operate on tribal lands.
Noem, during a rare joint speech to the Legislature, said: “The cartels exist here in South Dakota and they perpetrate violence and criminal activities daily against South Dakota families.” “They kill our children through their drug and trafficking.”
Noem claimed that the increase in violent crimes in Rapid City committed by “Ghost Dancers,” a cartel calling itself members, could be evidence of cartel activity.
The Sioux were offended that Noem used the sacred term to refer to drug cartels, and they banned her from their reservation.
In a Friday statement, OST President Frank Star came out stating that “I and the Oyate were deeply offended by your claim that the ‘Ghost Dancers’, are affiliated with cartels.”
Noem responded, saying that it was unfortunate that Star Comes Out brought politics into the discussion about the consequences of the federal government’s inability to enforce federal law at the southern boundary and on tribal land. I will continue to focus on working with others to resolve these problems.
Mr. Star Comes Out failed to mention that, in November last year, he and his tribe declared a State of Emergency amid a wave of crime involving guns and drugs. The question is whether the rise in crime is due to cartel activity.
There is no doubt that criminal gangs and crime in South Dakota are linked to the porous border.
Star Comes Out claimed that Noem was trying to use the issue of the border to get Donald Trump, former U.S. president, re-elected. This would also increase her chances to become his running mate.
The tribal leader said that many of the people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are Indigenous from countries like El Salvador and Guatemala who “come in search of work and a better way of life.”
He said, “They don’t have to be in cages or separated from their kids like they were during the Trump Administration. Or be sliced up by South Dakota razor wire, out of all places.”
The logic of the past has long gone.
Noem’s support for border security won’t matter to Trump much, somehow. South Dakota is thousands of miles away from the border. Noem has little to offer in terms of practical border security.
Trump cares about how strong the GOP ticket will be with her. She’s a Trump supporter and a woman. South Dakota, as far as the Electoral College goes, is a small state and Trump is likely to win it.
Some intangibles could sway Trump’s decision. She wouldn’t be in a position to overshadow him and was an early supporter. Her Midwestern roots are also attractive.
If Trump goes with a female, I believe it will be Rep Elise Stefanik. She is the most loyal of Trump’s supporters in Congress and, despite coming from the same state (New York), she may be the strongest candidate.