WATERTOWN, S.D. (KXLG) – The Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations says the unanimous vote taken by the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council recently to banish Governor Kristi Noem from the Pine Ridge reservation if the state follows through with plans to implement Keystone XL Pipeline demonstrator damage costs is unfortunate. The tribal action was announced by Oglala Sioux President Julian Bear Runner who, along with the Tribal Council, are upset with legislation supported by the Governor Noem and approved by the legislature that would make demonstrators fiscally responsible.
Dave Flute, who is the former Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Reservation Tribal Chairman admits that some, but not all tribes, have issues with the pipeline, but that the legislation approved by the legislature really protects freedom of speech for those who want to protest peacefully.
Flute says the Governor has been a class act in maintaining her poise to keep lines of communication open with all of the tribes. He’s not sure the Oglala Tribal Council received all of the pertinent information about the legislation and that the lines of communications may have been misunderstood.
He said that it’s not helpful to any of the tribes when they shut out local, state, and federal partners.
Flute says it’s OK to disagree sometimes, but that you also have to listen and communicate. He’s not ever seen a tribe take action to banish anyone.
Flute says the Indian communities need to be fighting a different kind of pipeline.
Flute is hopeful they can set differences aside, rebuild relationships, and come up with a better future for the state and tribal nations.