Oglala Sioux tribe asserts sovereignty, banishes Gov. Kristi Noem from Pine Ridge tribal land

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Not only is the Oglala Sioux tribe unhappy with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, due to her stance on border security, the tribe has officially banished her from certain tribal lands.

Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out wrote a letter on behalf of the Pine Ridge Reservation after Noem said she would be willing to send razor wire and National Guard personnel to Texas to help deter illegal immigration. She also said that cartels from south of the border have begun to infiltrate the state’s Indian reservations. Noem made the remarks during her State of the State address on Jan. 31 to the South Dakota Legislature.

“Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe!” Tribe President Frank Star Comes Out said in his letter to Noem. The term “Oyate” translates to people or nation.

Star Comes Out defended “Indian people from such places as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico” that come to America for a better life.

He took umbrage at Noem’s statement that a gang that calls itself the “Ghost Dancers” is affiliated with border-crossing carters that are using South Dakota reservations to traffic drugs throughout the Midwest, and that these gangs are murdering people on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Star Comes Out’s banishment letter, in full, to Gov. Noem (editor’s note, typos are his):

STATEMENT OF OGLALA SIOUX TRIBAL PRESIDENT FRANK STAR COMES OUT RESPONDING TO S.D. GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM’S BORDER ADDRESS TO THE JOINT SESSION OF THE S.D. LEGISLATURE (February 2, 2024)

First, I would like to say that I am an honorably discharged U.S. Marine that served tours in the Gulf War and Somalia, and currently serve as the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.  

This statement is issued on behalf of the Tribe in response to Governor Kristi Noem’s border address to the Joint Sesson of the S.D. Legislature on January 31, 2024.

Secondly, I would like to state for the record that the Oglala Sioux Tribe is a sovereign nation that is neither a Democrat nor Republican tribe; the tribe has to work with whatever administration, Democrat or Republican,that is elected into power.  

The Tribe’s nation-to-nation relationship with the United States began when we entered into the Treaty of July 5, 1825 (7 Stat. 252) with the United States, which brought the Tribe under the under the protection of the United States.  The Tribe is therefore a protectorate nation of the United States, not the State of South Dakota.  

It is the United States that should be protecting the Tribe from “invasions,” if any actually exist within the meaning of the Art. 1, Sec. 10, Cl. 3 (“Compact Clause”) of the U.S. Constitution.  

Thirdly, Governor Noem’s use of the term “invasion” as a justification to send S.D. National Guard troops to Texas under the Compact Clause in misplaced because:

 Only entry plus enmity constitutes an invasion. The unlawful entry of people into the United States cannot be construed as an invasion.  Nor, for the same reason, can the prospect of further illegal entry in the imminent future be so construed.  [T]he unlawful entry of criminal groups into a jurisdiction by itself insufficient to constitute an invasion . . . .[1]   

Thus, calling the United States’ southern border in Texas an “invasion” by illegal immigrants and criminal groups to justify sending S.D. National Guard troops there is a red herring that the Oglala Sioux Tribe doesn’t support. 

Fifthly, the Oglala Sioux Tribe also rejects the following statements by Government Noem in her address to the S.D. Legislature:

  • NOEM: “We see the effects of Joe Biden’s failures at the border every day herein South Dakota. “  

OST RESPONSE: The failures at the border are the result of both Democrats and Republicans to resolve border issues in bi-partisan legislation.

The truth of the matter is that Governor Noem wants the use the so-called “invasion” of the southern border as a Republican “crisis” issue to help get former President Donald Trump use it as a campaign issue to get re-elected as President, and in turn increase her chances of being selected by Trump to be his running mate as Vice-President.

Governor Noem should instead join Senator John Thune and other senators and congressmen to support the bi-partisan border deal in Congress.  It is the best deal that Republicans will get even if Trump somehow manages to get elected as U.S. President again.

  • NOEM:  The drug and human trafficking pouring over the border devastate our people.  Make no mistake, the cartels have a presence on several of South Dakota’s tribal reservations.  Murders are being committed by cartel members on the Pine Ridge Reservation and in Rapid City, and a gang called the “Ghost Dancers” are affiliated with these cartels.

We in state government do not have the jurisdiction to unilaterally intervene and provide law enforcement support to our tribes. That is a treaty obligation of the federal government. 

The Oglala Sioux Tribe sued the federal government. They pointed to evidence that the level of violent crime, drug trafficking, and gang activity on the Reservation is staggering, unprecedented, and overwhelming law enforcement resources. A federal judge ordered the Biden Administration to come to the table and work with the Oglala Sioux Tribe to provide the desperately needed law enforcement resources. But Biden has failed to make good on that obligation, so now the Oglala Sioux Tribe is suing again. They said that these crimes were being perpetrated primarily by “non-Native” individuals. They’re talking about the cartels.

OST RESPONSE:  Drug and human trafficking are occurring throughout South Dakota, and surrounding states, not just on Indian reservations.  

It is true that the Tribe has filed two lawsuits in federal court alleging that drugs and gang activity on the Reservation is over whelming law enforcement resources. But this is a result of the future of the U.S. Government to fulfill its treaty obligations to the Tribe.  But it isn’t only Biden that is to blame for not complying with the court’s order; Biden only signs bills passed by both houses of Congress.  It is the gridlock, primarily caused by the Republican controlled House of Representatives that has refused to pass a budget that would allow for more police officers on the reservation.  The same problems, lack of adequate funding for reservation law enforcement, also existed under the previous Trump Administrator. 

  • NOEM:  The cartels are using our reservations to facilitate the spread of drugs throughout the Midwest. In particular, fentanyl – which is being manufactured by the Chinese and smuggled over our Southern Border – is causing these [overdose] deaths. 

OST RESPONSE: Drugs are being spread from places like Denver directly to reservations as well as off-reservation cities and towns in South Dakota.  Reservations cannot be blames for drugs ending up in Rapid City, Sioux Falls and even in places like Watertown and Castlewood, S.D.   This was going on even when Trump was President.

In closing, believe that many of the people coming to the southern border of the United States in search of jobs and a better life are Indian people from such places as El Salvadore, Guatemalan and Mexicao and don’t deserve to be dehumanized and mistreated by people like Governor Abott and his cohorts.  They don’t need to be put in cages, separated from their children like during the Trump Administration, or be cut up by razor wire furnished by, of all places, South Dakota.

I joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served honorable in foreign wars to protect the freedoms of all Americans, even Indians throughout the nation.  I don’t to see our Indian people and reservations used as a basis to create a bogus border crisis just to help Trump get reelected President and Governor Noem his running mate as Vice-President 

Lastly, I agree with Noem’s statement that “we are a nation of laws and not men.”[2] At least we should be.  This is why the United States and the State of South Dakota should be honoring our treaty rights within our Sioux homelands, not constantly trying to degrade and diminish them.    


[1] Joshua Trevino, The Meaning Of Invasion Under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Texas Public Policy Foundation, Nov., 2022, pgs. 7-8).   

[2] Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803) (“[The] government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men’).

38 COMMENTS

  1. This is reminiscent of the Chorus foundations /Soros /CCP $ being funneled through tribal organizations like TCC to stop state development of natural resources. The cartels have been setting up shop on reservations for sometime now, it’s a safe place for them. The tribes assisting them are actively subverting our nation and supporting communism and apparently promoting Anti-white hate, as usual. AIM was co-opted by communists long ago. All tribal members of the Souix should be denied any state assistance.

  2. They must not have good internet on the reservation if they think the invaders crossing the southern border are primarily indigenous natives of Central and South America. History must be a weak subject also if they think everyone down south are indigenous…they don’t speak Spanish down there because it’s the original native language. Maybe the Sioux subscribe to the One Drop Theory of racial purity and they ignore the European ancestry mixed in with most of the populations down there. Kind of like how American liberals like to ignore Obama’s half white side.

  3. 97% of Fentanyl is imported through legal border crossings, anti-immigration folks are starting to look silly continuing to rally around de-bunked theories and anti-constitutional policies.

      • Per a 2022 study done by the Cato Institute, over 90% of Fentanyl seizures occurred at ports of entry into the USA. Most of the time, that Fentanyl that is being seized is in semi trucks or in shipping containers, often times disguised as normal goods.

        Frank’s number of 97% may be a little off, but there are multiple studies that show most of the Fentanyl getting seized coming into the USA is not being smuggled into the USA by illegal immigrants or asylum seekers.

        FYI, ports of entry into the USA are border crossings like Nogales, AZ or El Paso, TX or the Port of Alaska or the Port of Long Beach

        Here is a link to their research and article summarizing it.

        ‘https://www.cato.org/blog/fentanyl-smuggled-us-citizens-us-citizens-not-asylum-seekers

        And before anyone attacks The Cato Institute as another liberal/leftist/Marxist/communist place, you should read their mission statement: Our mission is to originate, disseminate, and advance solutions based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.

        • Pablo, more to the point, what is the Country of origin for all of this Fentanyl?
          China? A 2019 New York Times serial on the subject reported that China had over 160,000 “labs” making the stuff. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that the Chi-Coms are doing to the USA what the Brits did to China a hundred and fifty years or so ago with opium. Only thing different is that unlike opium you don’t need poppies and Afghans! It’s a beautiful thing.

          Not to disagree with you, the CATO brain trust or even Frank, but I’ve been informed by Alaska State Troopers that MOST of the Fentanyl comes via Mexican Cartels. Who do you believe? I dunno but I’m certain that China is behind it all.

          • I am not arguing the origins of the Fentanyl coming into the USA.

            It is undisputable that China and the Mexican drug cartels are producing and importing it into the USA.

            My contention is that most of the Fentanyl coming into the USA is not smuggled in by illegal immigrants or asylum seekers.

            It is coming into the USA via shipping containers from China into the Port of Long Beach or other ports in the USA.

            Or it is coming in via trucks from Mexico crossing at legal border crossings between the US and Mexico. None of which are driven by illegal immigrants, but instead US citizens, legal residents or people with work visas allowing them into the USA.

    • Frank, what flavor is that koolaid that you drank? Grape? Cherry? Orange? You definitely have been duped. If you think that the fentanyl is coming across the border legally, you have been duped.

      • I don’t think Frank is saying that Fentanyl is being imported legally, he is saying that most seizures (over 90%) of Fentanyl happen at ports of entry into the USA not being carried by illegal immigrants.

        I have family who lives close to Nogales, AZ and we are constantly seeing semi trucks that claim to contain produce from Mexico being stopped and found to in fact bringing in shipments of meth or Fentanyl. You do not see stories about illegal immigrants being caught with backpacks of Fentanyl.

        Those trucks are not driven by illegal immigrants, they are driven by people who have the ability to cross the border legally else they wouldn’t be able to go through a legal border crossing. That would mean that those driving the trucks are either US Citizens, legal residents, or have work visas to enter the USA

        The Cato Institute has a good article/study regarding this. I posted a link in a prior comment so if my other comment doesn’t pass the censors, I will repost the link.

        • The border patrol folks themselves say they’re not catching hardly any of it coming between the big crossings so what is the real number? Who knows The border patrol folks themselves say they’re not catching hardly any of it coming between the big crossings so what is the real number? Who knows

          You’re comparing apples to oranges. Of course most of the fentanyl seized is at the border crossings to because that’s where most of the inspections are being done. Outside of those crossings there are hundreds and hundreds of miles of wide open border that is barely monitored. The border patrol folks themselves say they’re not catching hardly any of it coming between the big crossings so what is the real number? Who knows

  4. Regrettably, much of Native leadership in Alaska, and now, apparently beyond, is controlled by Far Left leaning zealots, as is clearly the case here. As a member of Chickaloon Village, and one who has met many of the political and opinion leaders of various villages and other Native entities within Alaska, I am only too well aware of this. Obviously, this is also the case with the Oglala Sioux tribe, who is clearly working hand-in-hand with the Democrats.

  5. If the ‘sovereign’ Sioux Nation REALLY wanted to reclaim their sovereignty, they would forego the millions of dollars in subsidies that they receive from the federal (and state) government.

      • Backpay for what? The tribal members themselves say they had no concept of land ownership until the evil white man came. So restitution for “stolen lands” is a bogus claim. Some of the tribal members seemingly want all the benefits of modern society with full sovereignty when it fits a need. “Sovereign” dope dealers operating off the reservation know all they have to do is beat the blue back to the reservation border and it’s a hard stop for the pursuing LEO’s. Facts matter Greg.

  6. Sounds like the OST has swallowed the democrat koolaid, and is too childish (or threatened by the cartels) to understand what is really going on. This is why being so insular is a bad idea. OST, take your head out of the sand and see what’s sneaking up behind you before it’s too late!

  7. Sounds like the tribe has TDS, now relies on an unreliable federal government, and has forgotten what an invasion looks like.

  8. Putin has said that WEF Klaus Schwab and others are not welcome and are forbidden in his nation. America should have a list of forbidden leaders as well instead of rolling out red carpets those oppositional to our middle class liberties.

    • My mother grew up on the Pine Ridge. We used to go there a lot in the summers back in the 60s and 70s. It got so bad that we hardly ever went after that. I took my mother back there about five years ago and it was really sad. I won’t be going back. It seems like the younger generation there will not except any responsibility for this happening there. It’s always someone else’s problem and fault. I remember one of the old-timers there saying “if you wait for the cavalry to save us Indians you’re gonna be waiting a long time”

  9. Most of the illegal are Chinese, Haitian,Somali and other unfriendly nations. Noem is absolutely correct to try to stop illegal crossings.

    If frank star tried to illegally enter any of the country’s mentioned they would probably kill him or at minimum lock him in a cage. What part of this do you not get frank ?? You,are not welcome in any of their countries.

  10. As a sovereign nation, they are free to exercise their liberties and freedoms and control their own border. Seems like conservatives would be on their side.

  11. Interesting that Star Comes Out wants the Governor to respect his border yet refuses to ask others to respect all of ours border.

  12. Things are not always what they seem or they say in nation to nation agreements/treaties. The Governor may know important matters that are not divulged. There may be subterfuge or strategy. I’m not worked up about it. In the War Manual of the US in a war there are strategies of which civilians aren’t apprised. Many Americans are ethnic American indians etc as well. Being divisive doesn’t help.

  13. If we are led to believe a certain Gov is banned from a reservation is it possible to be mislead for a reason? I don’t believe everything I see or read.

  14. It’s comparing apples to oranges. The study is talking about the intercepted fentanyl which is mostly found at the big border crossings because that’s where all the inspections are done. There are hundreds of miles A border without any meaningful inspection or patrolling. The border service themselves say they don’t know how many people and how much drugs are crossing in these areas but they suspect it’s very high. So just saying that most of it’s captured at a few crossing this is not really the whole story.

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