Gov. Noem responds to Oglala Sioux Tribal Council decision to ban her from Pine Ridge Reservation

PIERRE, S.D. — Gov. Noem’s office has responded to a decision by the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council to ban her from the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The council voted to pass the official action unanimously on Wednesday in response to Gov. Noem’s pipeline bills. Noem introduced the bills shortly before the end of the 2019 legislative session.

They’re designed to spread the costs associated with potential Keystone XL oil pipeline protests by seeking money from pipeline developers and riot boosters — those deemed to be participating in or funding destructive protests.

On Thursday Gov. Noem’s office told NewsCenter1 in a statement:

“The governor has spent considerable time in Pine Ridge building relationships with tribal members, visiting businesses, discussing economic development, and working with leadership. This announcement from Oglala Sioux tribal leadership is inconsistent with the interactions she has had with members of the community.

It’s unfortunate that the governor was welcomed by Oglala Sioux’s leadership when resources were needed during the storms, but communication has been cut off when she has tried to directly interact with members of the Pine Ridge community.

The governor will continue working to engage with tribal members, stay in contact with tribal leadership, and maintain her efforts to build relationships with the tribes.”

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council says it feels the bills unfairly target Native Americans and allies who support their efforts to keep oil pipelines away from tribal lands. They’ve also expressed concern that the new laws limit First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by chilling protected speech.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in late March after the bills were signed into law. The suit specifically challenges one of the bills, S.B. 189, which is directed at “riot boosters.” It argues that the language used in the bill is too vague and invites arbitrary enforcement that “will result in indiscriminate targeting of peaceful organizers.”

Noem says that the laws are designed to prevent local governments from being bankrupt by the pipeline’s construction through South Dakota, and to hold different parties accountable for their actions — whether that be violent objectors, pipeline developers or beneficiaries of economic development.

She also says the bills were designed “to target out-of-state rioters funded by out-of-state interests that have attacked nearby projects.”

In contrast, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier wrote in a statement released in March that Gov. Noem is “putting the economic needs of the foreign company TransCanada ahead of the future of South Dakota.”

You can read Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner’s full letter to Gov. Noem here.


Categories: Local News, South Dakota News