South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is seen on the Pine Ridge Reservation in an April 18, 2019, post on social media. "Inspired by the stories I heard today at Pine Ridge," she wrote. "Stories of victories...people committing their lives to helping others. Stories of challenges...chains of addiction that need to be broken. And stories of hope...mentors who love kids through the ups and downs."

Governor of South Dakota admits snubbing tribes with last minute legislation

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) knows exactly why the Oglala Sioux Tribe banned from the Pine Ridge Reservation though she appears to be suggesting otherwise.

During a media call on Tuesday, Noem said the ban came as "quite a surprise," The Mitchell Daily Republic reported. Yet she outright admitted that she did not consult with the tribe prior to introducing legislation that made it a crime to engage in protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline.

But there is a reason for the snub. According to Noem, tribes did not need to be consulted in advance because the controversial crude oil project does not cross their reservations.

"Tribal leadership had the opportunity to influence the legislation once it was introduced, just like every other South Dakotan," Noem said on the call, The Daily Republic reported.

Noem said she hopes to talk to President Julian Bear Runner about his tribe's decision. And while she has been to Pine Ridge twice in the last few weeks, she doesn't plan on going back until the situation is resolved.

"I respect tribal sovereignty," Noem said on the call, The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported. "I typically don't go where I'm not welcome, and I won't test them. But I think it's in the best interest of everyone that we resolve this issue quickly."

Noem introduced two so-called "riot boosting" bills late in the legislative session, making it harder for tribes and their citizens to mobilize opposition. Even though they spoke out against the measures, lawmakers passed both within 72 hours.

That's what prompted leaders of the Oglala Sioux Tribe to bar Noem from the reservation. In a letter announcing the decision, President Julian Bear Runner noted that the Keystone XL Pipeline crosses through treaty territory.

"We have superior legal title to all the land west of the Missouri River that you and/or big oil seek to trespass and aggress on," Bear Runner wrote in the May 2 letter. "These are our lands and our waters."

Bear Runner said Noem would be welcome to return to Pine Ridge if she rescinds her support for the bills. But she doesn't appear to think she did anything wrong.

"In my view, the process worked. Every voice, in fact, was heard," Noem said of the legislation, The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

Read More on the Story
Noem says banning from Pine Ridge was 'quite a surprise' after introducing, signing anti-protest bills (The Mitchell Daily Republic May 7, 2019)
Gov. Kristi Noem: I'll respect Oglala Sioux Tribe's decision to ban me (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader May 7, 2019)
Can Oglala Sioux Tribe ban Gov. Kristi Noem from reservation? Here's what the law says (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader May 7, 2019)
Gov. Kristi Noem says she won’t test Oglala Sioux Tribe’s ‘ban’ (The Associated Press May 7, 2019)

An Opinion
Editorial: A Tribe Takes A Stand On New Laws (The Yankton Press & Dakotan May 7, 2019)

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