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Rebuttal to Giago: Noem “Dangerous” for Indian Country

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.


  1. larry kurtz 2012.10.25

    More damning by faint praise: Mr. Giago is no less vulnerable to the form cut by Mrs Noem than any heterosexual man is.

    Having said that, Tim Giago's opinion is hardly surprising: his reflects Russell Means' view that American politics has been hijacked by white corporatist greed and Matt Varilek likely looks like a wimp to a real man.

  2. Taunia 2012.10.25


  3. Steve Sibson 2012.10.25

    "Let's just send her home permanently and send a Congressman to Washington who will do the job right."

    Don't you mean:

    Let's just send her home permanently and send a Congressman to Washington who will do the job left.

  4. Douglas Wiken 2012.10.25

    Noem is a physically cute irrelevancy. The equivalent of tinsel that has fallen off the Christmas tree. Her statements and positions only make sense as pandering to big oil, big brokers, big banks, big insurance business barons.

  5. Dougal 2012.10.25

    It's time for Giago to retire. He jumped a huge shark on this one. Do his publishers do any fact checking before running his stuff?

  6. DB 2012.10.25

    Hey Jana...maybe you should read that article. It passed the senate with bipartisan support. Then.....

    "However, the bill that came out of the House Judiciary Committee failed to include a key provision which has already been accepted by the Senate on a bipartisan basis and is essential to protecting Native American women."

    Sounds to me like she never got to even vote on the matter since it never made it out of committee with the provision you are even talking about. It passed committee 17-15 and Noem had nothing to do with it.

  7. Testor15 2012.10.25

    Notice how Born campaign says 800 meetings. Is this in person, via phone, single person, meetings where she gives a speech then runs or real public access gatherings? She refuses to make herself available to situations where she could be questioned.
    There are meetings and there are appearances. She shows up.....

  8. Testor15 2012.10.25

    Born = Noem

  9. oldguy 2012.10.25

    And why does anybody care about this?

  10. Jana 2012.10.25

    Oldguy, is it safe to say that you aren't a Native American woman?

  11. Bob J 2012.10.25

    "purportedly heated phone call with Matt Varilek"

    Are you calling Mr. Giago a liar?

  12. larry kurtz 2012.10.25

    Anyone wondering about the timing of powerful Democrats converging on Sioux Falls right now doesn't believe in the power of democracy in its freest literal form.

    The SDGOP and Kristi Noem could not possibly have foreseen this.

  13. larry kurtz 2012.10.25

    RT @ArgusMontgomery Biden: McGovern "summoned thousands of people, who in turn now summon in new people."

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.25

    Bob J, I'm saying the only person saying there was a heated exchange was Giago. We have no confirmation of how that conversation went.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.25

    Jana, don't give up the ship to DB's mindless spouting of GOP fog-machine points. Noem threw in with a House GOP version that excluded extension of protections for Native American women. Your original statement, Jana remains correct: Noem and her House leadership blocked the Senate version that offered protection to Native American woman.

    Your ball, DB.

  16. Jana 2012.10.25

    Thanks Cory. I'm sure DB will get back to us ;-)

  17. DB 2012.10.26

    It's too bad Cory that you didn't read exactly what Jana wrote. Her original statement is wrong, not your twisted version that you like to think she typed.
    "Kristi voted against common sense provisions to protect native women provided in the bipartisan Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act."

    Kristi never voted against anything. She was handed a bill that already had the provision removed. The fact remains, she never had a chance to vote on it until it was removed. There is nothing she could have done. Now, if you want to talk about House Leadership, then that is a different story, but that is not what Jana said. I am correct with my statements and you know that. Trying to make Noem look like the bad girl in this one is pretty deceitful of you.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    I read what Jana wrote. I also read your specious nitpicking. Noem voted for a weaker House version of the VAWA that was intended to stifle the better Senate version. Noem's vote for the bad House version was quite directly a vote against the good Senate version. Her vote was political keester-covering to forward the GOP leadership's anti-woman anti-Indian agenda. Her vote stinks, and you're defending a stinky vote. The only deceit on the flow here is yours and Kristi's.

  19. DB 2012.10.26

    And if she voted against the revised bill you would be trying to pass off the same crap. It never ceases to amaze me how you can spin things just so you can attack a politician you don't like. She had no chance to vote on the provision and you know it. Quit being such a liar. You can find enough reasons to discredit Noem before having to lie about this and make it appear differently. This is a perfect example of why bloggers aren't considered journalists. There is no level of honesty or integrity.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    It's not spin. It's political reality. The House bill existed because Noem and the House Republicans wanted to say no to the Senate version but needed political cover. To deny that political reality is dishonest.

    But thank you for agreeing that Noem has discredited herself in numerous other ways... most of which have been well documented by this blog.

  21. Bob J 2012.10.26


    You used the term "puportedly" as to what Mr. Gaigo said was the tone of the conversation..

    Then you claimed that there was no confirmation. That is wrong. Mr. Giago reported about what he heard on a first-hand basis. That is confirmation. Mr. Gaigo reported what he heard. Mr. Giago is a journalist and reporter and publisher.

    Since you do not believe Mr. Gaigo's account, then come out and say so. Don't hide behind "purportedly". Either Mr. Giago is accurately reporting his conversation with Varilek or he is not, in which case he is a liar.

    You cannot cast doubt using the term "purportedly" on a reporter's and journalist's and publisher's description of a conversation, and then deny impugning his reputation.

    Make it right, Cory.

  22. Bob J 2012.10.26

    This is a perfect example of why bloggers aren't considered journalists. There is no level of honesty or integrity.

    I'm beginning to see that myself.

    It's too bad.

  23. larry kurtz 2012.10.26

    Capitalism destroyed the community of nations that occupied North America for at least 15 millenia: how in that same Hell it could become a way of life for the remaining 2.3 million First Americans is the same way Palestine exists.

  24. larry kurtz 2012.10.26

    Statehood for the tribes and Mexico now!

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    When Giago reverses his political position from 2010, when he blames Varilek for not supporting making loans available to small businesses in Indian Country when a cotemporaneous report makes clear that he does, the nature of the "heated" conversation is in question. Giago purports to have had a heated conversation. I cast doubt on that purportation. He's one guy, I'm one guy. I stand by every word I said.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    And speaking integrity and honesty, you, "Bob J" are dialing in from the same IP as "Julie Gross", "A. Johnson," and "Robert Johnson." You are the liar on this page, pretending to be multiple people. Now, would you like to post your real name to all of your comments, or would you like me to do it for you? In the interest of integrity, I could argue I have an obligation to tell people who you are. If you think it's more important that we talk about, then I think it's o.k. if we all talk about you, too.

    Now, do you want to talk about the issues at hand?

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    O.K., "Bob J", so when I report your real name and location on a firsthand basis, that will be confirmation, right?

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    You're online right now, "Bob J." I'm waiting. Hit that button.

  29. Bill Fleming 2012.10.26

    Way to throw down, Cory.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    We now return you to our regularly scheduled journa-blogalistic integrity.

  31. Ken Santema 2012.10.26

    Oh man, that one ended too soon. I always like to see the 'bloggers are not journalists' argument. I think that is actually a compliment to Cory, maybe I'm wrong.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.26

    You missed the show earlier this summer, Ken. Suffice it to say that what other people call me doesn't affect what I am. I blog. I write the best-documented version of the truth in the South Dakota blogosphere. I bear radical witness to a political culture dominated by folks with money, power, and worldviews based on bull manure. I occasionally have to correct folks who themselves stand with me outside the mainstream, like Mr. Giago. Call it journalism. Call it amateur Chautauqua. Call it public service. Call it poppycock. It doesn't change my commitment to speaking the truth and calling out those who don't.

  33. Ken Santema 2012.10.27

    Haha, my favorite part of the comments there is the post that beings with "HOW DARE YOU, you sleezy loudmouthed punk" and ends with "End the hate".

    Their attacks on you actually highlight what I like about blogs. To me bloggers are an improvement over 'traditional' journalists because agendas are not generally hidden. I come to this blog to get a left-leaning view of things in SD, there are other blogs I browse for right-leaning views. Does that mean I agree with anything I read on MadvilleTimes? Not by a long shot. Does that mean I disagree with everything I read on MadvilleTimes? Not by a long shot.

    To me the means of expanding knowledge is to look at all possible sources of information and viewpoints. I would also say that is true of 'attacking public servants'. Being able to attack politicians is what makes this country great. Its a way to spread opinion to the politician and other voters. Plus it can be quite fun and entertaining.

    Traditional journalists have their place in reporting stories. However in the modern world it is up to the bloggers to analyze information so it can actually be used. Even when bloggers are wrong, they are right to provide alternative views.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.27

    Bingo, Ken: you recognize the value bloggers add to journalism. The standard of "objectivity" creates a distance, arguably a falsehood, in journalism as currently practiced. Journalists feel as if they are obliged to write as if they are neutral observers, as if they do not have a personal stake in the outcome of the election or other great civic affairs. There is a place for that studied detachment... but there is also a place for citizens to hear from journalists who wear their perspectives on their sleeves. When you read the Aberdeen paper, you don't know what political opinions the reporters might harbor. If you ask, they probably won't tell you on the record. So you can't be sure what filters they are using when they write about Noem, Varilek, Novstrup, Dennert, etc. When you read this blog, you know pretty clearly where I'm coming from and can apply whatever grains of salt you think necessary.

    And thank you, Ken, for finding this blog worth your time as your do the hard work of sorting through the information dumptruck to construct your own understanding.

  35. DB 2012.10.29

    "The House bill existed because Noem and the House Republicans wanted to say no to the Senate version but needed political cover. To deny that political reality is dishonest."

    You are so full of crap. You just love spewing completely un-factual material. Exactly why bloggers can't be taken serious is because they let their bias form a story that isn't even true. Noem had nothing to do with removing the provision and you know that. IF you have proof that she did, then show it. Otherwise, admit you are lying just so you can try making Noem look bad. I shouldn't have expected much more from you. Your reputation proceeds you.

  36. larry kurtz 2012.10.29

    If Rep. Noem and Tim Giago really wanted to bring economic opportunities to Indian Country they would back funding for lawyers to sue the Church and the State of South Dakota for a century of abuse.

    Giago doubles down:

  37. larry kurtz 2012.10.29

    Expect Steve Hickey and the Democrats team up to repeal time limits on sexual abuse cases.

  38. jana 2012.10.29

    So DB are you saying that our Representative Noem, who also serves on the Indian Affairs committee, did nothing to represent and advocate for her Native American constituents?

  39. DB 2012.10.29

    jana...what I am saying is there was nothing she could have done. This has nothing to do with the Indian Affairs Committee. Once it hit the judiciary committee after being passed by the senate, those selected individuals have a choice to decide what leaves. Not Noem or any other freshman rep is going to change their minds. Unless you or Cory can prove otherwise, that is what the facts say. I don't live by conspiracy theories that Cory assumes happened.

  40. larry kurtz 2012.10.29

    Once again, it is proven that nothing gets done in DC unless one party controls the reins of government.

  41. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.10.29

    DB, I guess since you are simply going to label everything I say as a lie and an excuse to discount all blog posts, I can only say that I stand by every word I've said here. Noem said No to the better Senate bill by saying yes to a watered-down House bill. I can't say it any more plainly than that, and I have nothing else to prove. This isn't a conspiracy theory: this is a clear vote, attested by links provided above.

Comments are closed.