Kristi Noem, South Dakota governor, banned from second reservation in state

<span>Kristi Noem arrives onstage at a campaign rally for Donald Trump on 16 March 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio.</span><span>Photograph: Jeff Dean/AP</span>
Kristi Noem arrives onstage at a campaign rally for Donald Trump on 16 March 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio.Photograph: Jeff Dean/AP

Kristi Noem, the Republican governor of South Dakota recently sued for promoting a cosmetic dentistry company on social media, suffered another kick in the teeth when she was banned from a second reservation home to Indigenous people.

“This person has made a lot of accusations about the tribes, about the cartel, council representatives being in bed with the cartel, stuff like that,” Robert Walters, a Cheyenne River Sioux representative, told a tribal council meeting this week, presenting a motion to ban Noem from tribal lands over allegations about crime linked to Mexican drugs gangs.

Related: South Dakota tribe bans governor from reservation over US border comments

“It’s all false information. I make a motion at this time to banish her from the Cheyenne River Reservation … I believe there has to be some kind of policy set up for her to show up at these tribal meetings. She can’t just go in there and do her thing.”

Walters’ remarks were reported by ICT, an outlet covering Indigenous peoples, and the Rapid City Journal.

Noem has achieved national prominence as a supporter of Donald Trump and is widely seen as a possible vice-presidential pick. Her claims about crime and corruption on tribal lands are widely seen as a ploy to curry favour with Trump.

Her first reservation ban, from the Pine Ridge Reservation, was imposed by the Oglala Sioux earlier this year.

But Noem has continued to voice such accusations, saying at one community forum in March: “We’ve got some tribal leaders that I believe are personally benefiting from the cartels being there and that’s why they attack me every day. But I’m going to fight for the people who actually live in those situations, who call me and text me every day and say, ‘Please, dear governor, please come help us in Pine Ridge. We are scared.’”

On 29 March, Noem arrived, unannounced and with cameras in tow, at a major tribal meeting in Rapid City. The governor said on social media she had “felt it was important as your governor to show up at the Pe[’] Sla meeting between various South Dakota tribes and the Biden administration”.

Posting pictures with attendees, Noem said she had “greeted” tribal leaders “in the spirit of partnership and reiterated my offer to meet and work together”.

But on Tuesday, the day of the Cheyenne River Sioux meeting, Noem went back to the well, saying in a statement: “I call on all our tribal leaders to banish the cartels from tribal lands.

“The cartels instigate drug addiction, murder, rape, human trafficking, and so much more in tribal communities across the nation, including in South Dakota.”

At the Cheyenne River Sioux meeting, the council chair, Ryman LeBeau, said he was concerned Noem was just seeking publicity. Leaders of the nine South Dakota tribes had discussed what action to take, he said.

The motion to ban Noem from the Cheyenne River Reservation passed unanimously, 12-0.

Noem’s communications director, Ian Fury, told ICT and the Rapid City Journal: “Banishing Governor Noem does nothing to solve the problem. She calls on all our tribal leaders to banish the cartels from tribal lands.”