SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For the first time since she was banned from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, we’re hearing from Governor Kristi Noem.
Noem met with reporters today to explain why she signed a couple of laws surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, something the Oglala Sioux Tribe took issue with.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s decision to ban her from the reservation came as a surprise.
“Over the last 4 and a half months as governor I’ve traveled to Pine Ridge several times to meet with different families and businesses and tribal leadership on economic development, disaster recovery and on youth empowerment and I’ve always been welcomed by community members whenever I visited,” Noem said.
But she’s not welcome anymore after she signed two bills that aim to quell any violent protests against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, similar to those in North Dakota that plagued construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.
“Knowing this, I gave my team direction to build a plan that would protect our counties and local governments from expenses that come with pipeline construction and to protect our people from the costs and dangers that accompany violent riots,” Noem said.
But the tribe is upset she never reached out to meet with them first.
“We feel the President of the United States and the Governor have a duty to consult with tribal nations and also to seek our free and prior informed consent as it relates to extract projects which will cause a trespass on our treaty land,” Oglala Sioux Tribal spokesperson Chase Iron Eyes said.
Iron Eyes says the Tribal President Julian Bear Runner would be willing to meet with Noem, though who will make the first move, remains to be seen.
“I do believe the meeting with Noem will happen, because Governor Noem has stated she’s willing to meet with President Bear Runner and Bear Runner has made it known he’s also willing to engage that diplomatic relation, so it’s just a matter of when and where,” Iron Eyes said.
Those demonstrations in North Dakota against the Dakota Access pipeline resulted in 761 arrests and cost the state $38 million dollars.