No Home for Noem: Now Banned in 20% of Her Own State 

mark reinstein /
mark reinstein /

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is learning that politics is a dog-eat-dog world. 

Due to non-canine-related issues, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is now prohibited from entering 20% of her state’s land. Last week, The Yankton Sioux Tribe banned Noem from coming onto their land in southeastern South Dakota, following the same move made by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Ovate tribe earlier that week. Before this, the Oglala, Rosebud, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock Sioux tribes had taken steps to keep her away from their reservations. The state’s three remaining tribes haven’t voted. 


The move came as part of the fallout of Noem’s controversial statements in March when she accused tribal leaders of “catering to drug cartels” and neglecting the children and the poverty-stricken individuals within their tribes.  

Tribal leaders have been critical of Noem, which she says is because “certain” leaders profit from the presence of drug cartels on their lands. She has renewed her advocacy for the residents directly affected by these connections, who “frequently contact her” for help and “say they are afraid.” 

South Dakota’s government has been historically mistrusted by Native Americans, especially since the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre of Lakota kids, women, and men. That horrific incident was part of a broader campaign to stop the Ghost Dance, a ceremony of great significance to Native Americans.  

Noem herself has a history of conflict with the Native American tribes in her state, including her criticism of the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock and her disapproval of coronavirus checkpoints at reservations to limit non-essential visitors during the height of the pandemic. She was temporarily banned by the Oglala Sioux Tribe in 2019. 

This time, the ban appears permanent. 

Cal Jillson, a political observer from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, notes that Noem seems to be actively “stoking” the disputes, suggesting that it is an effort to distract the public from talking about her dog woes. 

Noem has been forced to cancel scheduled interviews for her book tour to promote her memoir, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward.” Before her book, Noem had garnered some attention following an unusual infomercial where she commended a group of Texas cosmetic dentists who had given her veneers. 

Shooting Cricket the dog overshadowed the death of another farm animal at the hands of Noem. Shortly after dispatching the dog, Noem dragged a billy goat – an intact goat used for breeding purposes – to the same gravel pit because it was s “nasty and mean” and had a “disgusting, musky, rancid” smell. The goat would chase her and her kids, knocking them down. It’s not unusual for a billy goat to be aggressive, and goat lovers will be the first to acknowledge that they smell awful. 

Cricket got off far easier than the unfortunate goat, who required two bullets to complete the job.  

Noem thought that including the stories in her book would distinguish her from other politicians, writing, “I guess if I were a better politician, I wouldn’t tell the story here.” 

But she has become a meme queen and has endured endless questions about the incidents. She also had to retract part of the book where she claims she “stared down” North Korea’s Kim Jong Un during a private meeting, an incident that experts say was highly unlikely. 

Noem claims that drug cartels are affiliated with a gang calling itself the “Ghost Dancers.” Oglala Sioux Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out took offense to Noem’s references to the “Ghost Dancers,” pointing out that he had never heard of the gang and that it was insulting to his people and their traditions to “single them out.” 

Tony Mangan, spokesperson for the South Dakota Attorney General’s office, has said that while the Ghost Dancers have ties to a motorcycle gang known as the Bandidos, his office hasn’t confirmed any connections between the group and drug cartels, nor is it certain whether the Ghost Dancers are currently active on the reservation. 

Star Comes Out stated that Governor Noem is the first individual he has barred from the reservation since assuming the role of the tribe’s president in 2022. The ban prohibits Noem from visiting the reservation. 

Noem’s political career may very well be over at this point. She is currently serving her second year as South Dakota’s top dog and will be unable to run for reelection as governor. If she was hoping to cement her position as a serious contender for former President Trump’s running mate, she is barking up the wrong tree.