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Noem Refuses to Talk to State-Tribal Relations Committee About Checkpoint Battle

Governor Kristi Noem has damaged state-tribal relations with her vigorous attacks on tribal efforts to protect their communities from coronavirus with highway checkpoints. The Legislature’s State-Tribal Relations Committee has been trying to get Noem and the tribes together to discuss their differences, but Team Noem is refusing to talk to the committee, apparently out of personal pique:

The Committee requested that Noem meet with its members, including Native and non-Native American legislators. The tribal chairmen often attend the meetings and Tribal Relations Secretary David Flute, who is a member of Noem’s Cabinet, provides an update on his office’s work at the meetings.

The Governor’s Office didn’t respond to the State-Tribal Relations Committee’s request or provide available times for the meeting. A legislative staff member followed up with an email, saying he assumes the silence means neither Noem nor Noem’s Chief of Staff Tony Venhuizen plan to participate in the Committee’s meeting, after which Venhuizen replied that neither of them would attend the meeting.

“It’s unfortunate, but anyone who listens to the disrespectful way that certain committee members have treated Secretary Flute at past meetings will understand why this invitation was declined,” [said] Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury… [Lisa Kaczke, “Gov. Kristi Noem Declines Meeting with State-Tribal Relations Committee,” Rapid City Journal, 2020.08.14].

Governor Noem has made clear that she wants to fence herself off from all disagreement. But the Executive Branch isn’t supposed to hide from the Legislative Branch, especially when there are real problems to discuss and solve:

“I’m in a situation where I’m trying to mitigate some real sensitive issues at a time when we need it the most and she shows a total lack of respect for our institution of government,” [committee chair Rep. Shawn] Bordeaux said.

…The Committee wants to discuss with Noem how things escalated over the checkpoints and where relations can go from this point, said Committee member Sen. Troy Heinert, D-Mission. The legislators represent the tribal areas and know the tribal leaders, but they were left out of the process, he said. They also want to discuss cultural norms of working with tribal governments and what “consultation” between the state and the tribes means because it’s different for each tribe, he said.

…The checkpoint issue is “disruptive” to having “any kinds of relations that are fruitful on both sides,” Bordeaux said. But the issue is larger than the checkpoints, especially now in the middle of the pandemic. The tribes have reacted differently to the pandemic than the state, he said. Some Native American legislators represent non-Native constituents and some Native American students attend state schools. They’ll fail if they don’t work all together and Noem needs to be at the table, he said [Kaczke, 2020.08.14].

Governor Noem apparently prefers ruling to governing. But when the Legislature can’t even muster the courage to call itself into special session to deal with the massive impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the entire state and the Governor’s inexplicable withholding of a billion dollars of federal coronavirus aid that could help South Dakotans in need right now, our Snow Queen likely feels all the more free to rule by fiat and ignore calls to open discussion and debate over policy toward the tribes.


  1. Nix 2020-08-15

    When you act like an ass, you get treated like an ass.
    Pretty simple.
    Now, The Ft. Laramie treaty of 1868 gave the Western half of the State, parts of NE,WY, and MT to the Lakota
    and other native tribes. Ratified by the Senate of the United States of America
    So, technically it’s not too late to not only banish the Dope Queen of Delusion from the Pine Ridge, but maybe the entire Western side of South Dakota.
    Or, you could build a fence around the Capitol because after a while Meth heads get paranoid. It’s only a matter of time before she starts to scratch her forearms.

  2. leslie 2020-08-15

    Trump’s people will mot discuss inconvenient truth.

    Sheryl Gay Stolberg
    SCOOPLET: TeleTracking, the company helping to run the Trump administration’s new HHS coronavirus database, has signed an NDA and won’t disclose information to Congress.

    And reading slate, Trump refused to discuss Covid Dozens of times. Kristi does what Trump does.

    Cited in related thread yesterday:

  3. jerry 2020-08-15

    Paging Dan Ahlers…Dan, where are ye? Get front and center on this issue and then hammer EB5 Short Rounds on what it is he’s gonna do about the Post Office and the dismantling of our pride and envy. Here are two huge issues to make hay with, start baling that hay. Your pedestal will be the complete lawlessness and lack of control both of these hombre’s are doing to the state. They are equal offenders, so start with one and then move on to EB5 Short Rounds. Push that door open so people get to know you. You do want the office EB5 takes vacations from, no?

    You do know that if you push on GNOem, she might have to get the Attorney General on this Post Office disaster to challenge the trump regime, make’m do it, Senator Jon Tester in Montana did. Medications, correspondence, bills to be paid are not being delivered on time. The farmers and ranchers, you know, rural folk, republican base, are not getting the services they need. A lot of these folks live on the reservations and if no one has a dialogue on any of these issues, how ya gonna get things done. Raise some hell Dan.

  4. mike from iowa 2020-08-15

    Two re milestones reached and passed today in drumpf’s quest to be the killingest killer of US people, ever.

    United States
    Coronavirus Cases:

  5. Jenny 2020-08-15

    You know it looks really bad for Noem when both Lance Russell and Steve Haugaard request that she attend the meeting. Bill Janklow anyone?
    Kristi is no leader and republican leaders should be disgusted with her.

  6. Jake 2020-08-15

    Noem is counting on the SD GOP to give her the same ‘crickets’ treatment the GOP Senate in Washington gives Trump! Seems like no one wants to buck her or verbally take her to the woodshed like she deserves. 10% of her people , at least, are Native Americans with more legal claim to a large part of South Dakota than the current landed residents and she won’t even meet with them. She loves the sales-tax they kick in to the state’s coffers but if they differ on her philosophy they simply need to “put on their positive pants” and do it her way. To refuse to meet them and have a little confab is so much like the 7th Calvary blonde boy thinking he could whip the Sioux his way.

  7. Jake 2020-08-15

    Jerry, I agree wholeheartedly. Dan Ahlers get it going-he’s vulnerable and the GOP is ripe to have the blood-bath they deserve this election! Rounds hasn’t said anything about Trump’s Post Office play yet. So when do we start seeing our mailboxes vanishing? Like Montana yesterday?

  8. Moses6 2020-08-15

    Oh where or where is Dan Ahlers make hay while the sun is shining.

  9. Pat Meyer 2020-08-16

    Noem is parroting exactly the behavior that our Bronze Bozo in DC exhibits… she’s a wanna be and is totally stupid on the fact that the Rosebud, Pine Ridge and other reservation areas are a separate entity from South Dakota…. they have a definite right to protect their people. In these pressing times, I don’t blame them for having the check points and being stern about protecting their folks. No one else is making much of an effort to insure the safety of the Native American peoples. Kristi… they and their ancestors were here LONG BEFORE you and your ancestors. Respect their rights and desire to be safe. If only the balance of the country were better able to protect themselves from Bronze Bozo!! Nov 3rd can’t come soon enough!! Be registered to vote and be sure to vote asap when your ballot is available.

  10. buckobear 2020-08-16

    Here’s an idea: Why doesn’t the Lakota Nation open a Costco-like store on the Rez. No sales taxes, eh ?? Lots of jobs and guaranteed to drive kristi krazi.

  11. jerry 2020-08-16

    buckobear, A whole lot of red tape and lack of start up money makes the idea possible, but very difficult.

    There has to be willing partners for the investment and there also has to be infrastructure. Both of these are lacking in our great state of nothing works here, called South Dakota. But an economic impact zone, with tax incentives could make a move from a place called China, very palatable to anyone other than an EB5 mafia outfit.

  12. Pat Meyer 2020-08-16

    Anything!! It tickles me to see the folks flock to the casino near Valentine and dump their monies into “winning”…. is helping the Native Americans buy out the failures here and there! I love that they are finally able to begin holding their heads up and walk tall showing their pride once again.

    When will the SD citizenry learn to work alongside the tribe (and VV) to make a better place of the State? Being able to shed the veil of government handouts for being their own people again could possibly bring them to the 21st century… but if there is such abysmal leadership in SD… maybe they’re better off with governmental care still….. at present… no-one has a good answer, I’m sure.

  13. grudznick 2020-08-16

    Mr. Bordeaux does indeed often act like an ass, but not as bad as that young, bald Mr. Russell fellow who really has an itch. It is funny, funny I tell you, the most meaningless in the legislatures are being laughed at in public.

    grudznick is all for a Costco store being opened up there on the Rosebud. Let us start on that this month. The Costco fellows have a whole business plan on how that would work. Mr. Russell cannot even get a functioning coffee shop in his town of the Hot Springs, and was sanctioned by the Supreme Court as a bad lawyer. A very bad lawyer.

  14. grudznick 2020-08-16

    Mr. jerry, a wise young man, may have a really good idea here. Mr. Ahlers needs to really glom onto this and hammer it relentlessly. Mr. Ahlers does need a good stick and this could be a stout one. grudznick approves of this approach, but give Mr. jerry all the credit. Dan, put down your coffee and get thee out there!

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