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Noem Practices Critical Race Theory to Acknowledge Rosebud Children’s Repatriation

Governor Kristi Noem took to Facebook last Friday to acknowledge the racist, colonialist history of America’s boarding schools/concentration camps for American Indian children and the long-delayed repatriation of the remains of nine Lakota children from the infamous Carlisle boarding school in Pennsylvania to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. In doing so, some FB respondents point out, Governor Noem practiced critical race theory.

“One of the main reasons why we study history is to learn from both our triumphs and our mistakes,” wrote the Governor. “Sometimes those mistakes are painful to admit, but we study them nonetheless so that we can ensure that they are never repeated.” Governor Noem here states exactly the premise and purpose of critical race theory, making the dominant class uncomfortably aware of its past errors and helping them gain knowledge to avert further error:

For members of the dominating society, CRT provokes a “cognitive conflict to jar white dysconscious racism” (Ladson-Billings, 1998, p. 16),disrupting particular beliefs about the world. CRT then provides crucial knowledge to white people because it helps them “grasp what it is like to be nonwhite” (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001, p. 39); that is, counterstorytelling serves to “help us understand what life is like for others and invite the reader into a new and unfamiliar world” (p. 41) [Jeannette Haynes Writer, “Unmasking, Exposing, and Confronting: Critical Race Theory, Tribal Critical Race Theory and Multicultural Education,” International Journal of Multicultural Education, vol. 10 no. 2, 2008.

Governor Noem says, “In meetings with the tribes, I heard stories of heartbreak, appreciated the need for closure on this part of their history, and respected how important it was to have these children appropriately identified and returned to their homelands.” Here she embodies the core critical race theory practice of giving voice to people of color to speak truth to their colonizers:

The goal of CRT is to construct an alternative reality by naming one’s reality through storytelling and counterstorytelling; thus, the advantage of CRT is the voice that it provides people of color. Examples of “voice” include “parables, chronicles, stories, counterstories, poetry, fiction, and revisionist histories” (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995, p. 57). CRT allows for the contestation, deconstruction, and reshaping of the master narrative by enlisting multiple perspectives and experiences as sources of valid knowledge which serve as catalysts for transformation.

…Indigenous scholars (Brayboy, 2005; Haynes Writer, 2002b, 2008; Hermes, 1999; Rains, 2003; Williams, 1997) began employing CRT to examine the effects of race, racism, and power in our communities and on ourselves and utilized CRT as a mechanism to perform truth-telling—to speak back to colonization and oppression.

…CRT and TribalCrit generate truths about colonization in larger social and structural contexts, facilitating change. “Since the truth about injustices perpetuated against Indigenous People has been largely denied in the United States, truth-telling becomes an important strategy for decolonization” (Wilson & Yellow Bird, 2005, p. 7) [Haynes Writer, 2008].

So in one weekend, Kristi Noem practiced critical race theory and said she hates America. Talk about fouling up a conservative GOP campaign strategy!


  1. Eve Fisher 2021-07-19 09:53

    It’s always different if SHE does it.

  2. mike from iowa 2021-07-19 12:10

    What will she say about in front of the next magat, white scumacyst crowd? That should be telling.

  3. Francis Schaffer 2021-07-19 12:12

    Thanks, I hadn’t heard this.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2021-07-19 14:38

    Well…the Rosebud repatriation is “big news”-lots of play in the state dailies- and emotional news, and rightly so, and the Governor wants to get in front of it…share some of that spotlight….that’s what we pay those $100,000 plus “public relations” aides to do.

  5. Porter Lansing 2021-07-19 15:10

    If the goal of CRT is to construct an alternative reality by naming one’s reality through storytelling and counter storytelling, let us begin here.

    Critical Race Theory isn’t about Black people’s struggles, at all.

    CRT is about white people.

    About how, in America, white people are almost always treated fairly in courts, schools, and police stations. Treated fairly in real estate rental deals, job applications, and medical offices.

    About how grand it is to be white and how any privilege we have is a privilege we’ve earned by killing Nazi’s and helping Indians reach their manifest destiny.

  6. Donald Pay 2021-07-19 15:36

    You can look at what Noem said (if she said it as opposed to having someone concoct the message for her) as a human response. Critical Race Theory recognizes the good that resides in everyone (as well as the bad), and that everyone can have normal human revulsion to the the pain that injustice brings, as well as being blind to, willfully ignoring or taking pleasure in others’ pain due to injustice. The civil rights movement was based on the assumption that nearly all people have a revulsion to the impacts to humans of injustice. That injustice, for the most part, is not personal, but systemic. It takes a bit more study to get from Noem’s statement, to understanding how taking kids out of their families and culture was a government and church policy, and what the ramifications of that policy was to psyches, cultures and families down through the years to present day. It’s not just the deaths of these children that need to be understodd and grieved, though that helps, but the cultural genocide that was attempted as well.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-07-19 16:53

    Francis, thank you for getting me to go look for any statement from the Governor on the return of the Rosebud children’s remains to their homeland. I don’t bother reading Noem’s daily social media posts any more than I go walk barefoot on broken glass every morning. But there she was on FB, offering exactly the kind of CRT-compliant (not to mention factual and moral) history and civics lesson in her propaganda that she and her Republican legislator colleagues say is un-American when delivered by teachers in public school and university classrooms.

  8. mike from iowa 2021-07-19 17:39

    Texas Sinate just passed a bill that removes requirement of teaching civil rights in Social Studies classes. Magats are seriously disturbed in the head.

  9. ds 2021-07-19 18:37

    Kristi Noem selfish Trump Minion….
    Ironic she ballyhoos about teachers must only instruct about the most wonderful country the USA and now the revelations that thousands of indigenous kids…including Native American kids from South Dakota… were abused, murdered, and buried in Pennsylvania and Canada. Better not talk about CRT here in South Dakota!
    Oh wait… she must have read this and realized how two faced she is

  10. Mark Anderson 2021-07-19 19:17

    Why even bother to talk about Critical Race Theory. Every kid with a mind will look it up. Let the Qminded continue to hassle school boards everywhere as they did in Sarasota just a few days ago. Cory’s approach here is the best. Just point out that when the village of trumpies acknowledge any injustice that they are doing CRT.

  11. O 2021-07-19 21:59

    Therin lies the rub. As a society we need to have thoughtful discussions about fairness and equality — especially those invisible disadvantages that are real for some. Unfortunately our Republican friends have decided to make CTR the newest boogieman/umbrella for every extreme element of racial discussion. They are willing to throw the baby our with the bathwater in order to demonize all who want these discussions and keep all those would benefit from reform left disenfranchised.

    Again, the selfishness of the “it doesn’t affect me” GOP leaves its rotted stench. The abject unwillingness to help others is indecent. Values and decency need to be the moral high ground against all these GOP/MAGA Rand worshipers.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-07-20 13:12

    “abject unwillingness to help others”—that’s a nice summation of the Noem/GOP platform. Noem at least takes the CRT step of letting our indigenous neighbors tell their story and alerting us to the system racism in our history. But will she take the governing step of reforming our racist institutions?

  13. bearcreekbat 2021-07-20 14:57

    What if some of these kids were taken from their non-citizen families and were killed or died before June 2, 1924, since Congress still had not yet enacted the Indian Citizenship Act, which finally granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S.? After all, isn’t Kristie’s mantra to non-citizen children “Call me when you are an American.”

  14. Donald Pay 2021-07-20 16:07

    Opposition to CRT isn’t the point for Noem and the rest of the right. The hysteria generated by the right on this issue is a fundraising mechanism, and when it comes to raking in the bucks, the right sort of cannabalizes itself.

    I was getting fundraising emails from various righty cause groups regarding CRT for a month or so before the politicians came on board in order to chisel into the bucks available from the racist base of the Republican Party. Apparently, CRT has been lucrative for the righty money machine. It’s the classic way the right manufactures a huge grift aimed at shaking down the righty suckers and Alzheimer’s patients that make up the white drooling class that makes up much of the righty base.

    The problem is Noem has shown zero understanding that she can’t be a normal human being and expect to keep raising money from the droolers.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-07-20 16:42

    Oh, Bear, now you’ve got Kristi in even more contradictions. She just can’t open her mouth without digging herself a deeper hole.

  16. 96Tears 2021-07-20 19:09

    I’ve heard from some Pierre insiders and others who knew her 20 years ago that she is bright and capable of polite social skills. As one said, just hand her a script and she’ll do the rest. While her remarks about the Rosebud children were the right thing to say, I’m not sure she realizes she more famously stood for the opposite position on history curricula and doubled down on it several times to pander to Trump-loving racists. These are the actions of a half-wit, and that’s fine. Lots of half-wits get elected in South Dakota.

    Without her script writers, she isn’t much of a national political standout. She could even become a more responsible governor. She should let that sink in.

  17. Porter Lansing 2021-07-21 10:40

    Rural regions are slow moving and often described as “just plain boring”.

    Many among those use “imagined fear’ as an excitement component to their doldrum, backwater lives.

    To furthermore “guild the lily” they use their phony fear to “warn” others of what they believe is real.

    Subconsciously attempting to inject a “self esteem boost” into lives with little perceived purpose.

  18. John 2021-07-24 10:20

    Democrats Propose Bill to Rename More Than 1,000 Landmarks With Racist Names—Not That America Is Racist or Anything
    Apparently, America is home to a lot of rivers, lakes and mountains that call you a racial slur as soon as you Google them. Democrats are trying to change that.

    ” According to the statement from the lawmakers, questionable names have been identified for 1,441 federally recognized places.
    More than 600 places have the word “n——,” a slur for Black people, in their name, according to a database from the US Geological Survey. In Oklahoma there is Dead N—— Spring, so-named because a deceased Black person was found there, according to the USGS.
    In New Mexico, there is a reservoir called W——— Tank, named with a slur for Mexican people living in the US. Nearly 800 results are returned by the USGS database when searching for the term “s——,” an offensive word for Native American women.”
    “Certainly, this same racism-free nation couldn’t possibly, in the 21st century, still be a home to hundreds of lakes and rivers that carry names featuring racial slurs. For this to be true, America would need to have racism embedded in its very fabric. How could this land possibly have ever been a “shining city on the hill” if there’s at least a five percent chance that hill is named “Nigger Be Gone Hill?””

    “All jokes aside, this bill could potentially put congressional Republicans in an awkward position. If they vote against it, they’re essentially saying, “Look, if I want to continue skiing down the slopes of Porch Monkey Mountain, then that’s just what I’m going to do!” If they vote in favor, they must acknowledge the existence of nearly 1500 landmarks with racist names in a country they keep trying to convince everyone is not built on a culture of racism.”

  19. Porter Lansing 2021-07-24 10:55

    Racial slurs and bigoted names make MAGA’s feel better about themselves.

    When wealthy, white males have held you down for centuries, the poor, white males need someone to tower above.

    In 2042 poor, white males become just another minority in our country of growth and change.

    This fact enrages their low self esteem and stimulates their need for white supremacy, in even the lowest terms.

  20. Porter Lansing 2021-07-31 10:55

    CRT Disassembled –
    -Critical Race Theory is simply accurate and verifiable Black history.
    -The controversy isn’t really about CRT.
    -Accurate Black history makes white people feel guilty.
    -Liberals can accept that feeling; while conservatives absolutely can’t.
    -Conservatives need to invent other definitions of CRT to salve their guilt.
    -These invented definitions are what people are upset about, when personal guilt is the real cause.

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