Last updated on 2014.09.23
Lakota publisher Tim Giago ruffled feathers and drew Republican drool this week with a strange, self-contradicting endorsement of Congresswoman Kristi Noem, whom he admits doesn't know enough right now to effectively legislate for Indian Country.
Lakota education, language, and youth advocate Ryan Wilson thinks Tim Giago must be suffering from Romneysia. Wilson offers a blistering rebuttal, based not on Giago's mistaken impressions from Noem photo ops and a purportedly heated phone call with Matt Varilek, but on a rational assessment of Noem's record.
Kristi Noem, an attractive, highly skilled communicator, entered the U.S. House of Representatives as one of the least educated and inexperienced law makers in modern South Dakota politics. South Dakotans and especially the Lakota have paid a heavy price for her inexperience.
Nothing exemplifies her inexperience more than her failed attempts to move the reauthorization of the Farm Bill and her nuanced dance with the Tea Party and the leadership of the Republican Party which openly rebuked her efforts [Ryan Wilson, "Romneysia Hits Lakota Country," Indian Country Today, October 24, 2012].
Wilson points to the drastic Farm Bill cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, immoral cuts that Noem supports that would have serious impacts on low-income folks everywhere, including Indian Country. He further indicts Noem's support for the Ryan budget, which undermines the federal government's fulfillment of treaty obligations. Wilson says such cuts attack Indian sovereignty:
I take great offense and so should all Lakota to folks who swear fidelity and allegiance to the United States Constitution until it comes to the Treaty Clause, the Commerce Clause, and Indian Nations. As Noem and Tea Party extremists praise America's founders, their infinite wisdom and ideals, these folks conceal the truth that when they take an oath of office part of that oath is to uphold Indian Treaties and Indian sovereignty.
Behind the beautiful smile, the public appearances at tribal events, and the polished public speaker is a dangerous person to Indian country and in particular the Lakota [Wilson 2012.10.24].
Dangerous—that's Kristi Noem. We could re-elect her and just hope she'll miss opportunities to do active harm as she skips more committee meetings. But let's save herself and Indian Country and all of South Dakota the trouble. Let's just send her home permanently and send a Congressman to Washington who will do the job right.