Kristi Noem: Trump VP hopeful outlawed in six Native American reservations

Kristi Noem: Trump VP hopeful outlawed in six Native American reservations
Kristi Noem: Trump VP hopeful outlawed in six Native American reservations
  • By Sam Cabral
  • BBC News, Washington

1 hour ago

Source image, Getty Images

Image caption, Kristi Noem has faced bipartisan criticism over the past few weeks

Two Native American tribes in South Dakota have barred its governor, Kristi Noem, from their land as she doubles down on derogatory commentary against tribal leaders and reservation life.

The latest bans add to existing exclusions from four other reservations this year. Ms Noem is now banned from nearly one-fifth of state territory.

It comes after the Republican cut short a disastrous national media book tour.

Ms Noem was once a frontrunner to be Donald Trump’s running mate this year.

Less than three months ago, she topped a poll of candidates to run as vice-president for the November election. However, a crop of recent controversies, including a story of how she shot a pet dog, have drawn bipartisan criticism.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and Yankton Sioux tribes on Friday passed separate resolutions to prohibit Ms Noem from setting foot in their territory.

The duo joined the Cheyenne River Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Rosebud Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux tribes in making the state’s chief executive an outlaw on their lands. It means six of South Dakota’s nine Native tribes are now refusing her entry.

As governor, Ms Noem, 52, cracked down on Native-led protests against the Keystone XL pipeline, ignored tribal objections to a 2020 fireworks display at Mount Rushmore and clashed with tribal leaders after they set up coronavirus checkpoints to control visits to their reservations.

Ms Noem recently alleged Native children “don’t have any hope” because of absentee parents and suggested without evidence that tribal leaders were “personally benefitting” from drug cartel operators.

“Governor Kristi Noem’s wild and irresponsible attempt to connect tribal leaders and relatives with Mexican drug cartels is a sad reflection of her fear-based politics that do nothing to bring people together to solve problems,” Janet Alkire, chairwoman of the Standing Rock Sioux, wrote in a lengthy five-page rebuke in March.

The BBC has contacted the governor’s office for comment.

Source image, Getty Images

Image caption, Ms Noem was an early endorser of Donald Trump’s re-election

It is the latest embarrassment for the former rising star of the Republican party.

In her new book, No Going Back, Ms Noem recounts how she shot dead her 14-month-old dog, Cricket, for bad behavior. She also killed a goat she said smelled and was mean.

The governor said the shootings were examples of her willingness to do things that were “difficult, messy and ugly”.

In another passage, later removed, Ms Noem claimed she had been to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea and “stared down Kim Jong Un”. No public record of either action exists.

She also claimed she had been “slated to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron” during a visit to Paris but nixed their sit-down over alleged “pro-Hamas” comments he made in the press.

A French government official said there was no record of a scheduled meeting or even an invitation.

Ms Noem has hit back at what she calls left-wing “spin”, but her attempts at damage control have failed across the political spectrum. Several interviews have since been canceled.

Last week, Mr Trump acknowledged Ms Noem has had “a rough couple of days” but said he liked her “a lot” and noted she “has been supportive of me from the beginning”.

According to US media, however, Trump insiders say she has “killed her chances” of being his vice-president.

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