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Noem speaks with forked tongue

In Indigenous cultures when you say someone “speaks with a forked tongue” it means they lie, and that person was no longer considered worthy of trust. In other cultures, it can mean to speak in a duplicitous manner, to deliberately say one thing and mean another, or to be hypocritical.

When European colonists came to the Americas seeking new lands, they discovered thousands of Indigenous societies inhabiting both continents. Europeans resorted to horrific tactics to remove these inhabitants, including outright genocide. But one tactic has remained consistent over the centuries—lying to us.

After the formation of the United States of America in 1776, Americans began to move westward into the aboriginal homelands of many plains tribes, including the Oceti Sakowin or the Great Sioux Nation.

The Sioux and other Great Plains Tribes proved to be formidable enemies of the U.S. Government, which forced the U.S. to negotiate peace treaties with tribes. However, in the end, the government would break every one of the treaties and thus the apropos term “white man speaks with forked tongue” was born.

Another reference to the practice of lying is in the Bible at John 8:44 where Jesus tells the Jews in a debate after the Feast of the Tabernacles, “You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”

No matter which angle you come at this from, when speaking of a person who practices lying, the conclusion is pretty much the same, liars are considered the scum of the earth and in the same company as someone as evil as the devil himself.

So that brings to mind comments made by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem in the recent gubernatorial debate wherein she outright lies. I can’t help but wonder why people believe her lies, like they did with former President Trump. However, people know they are being lied to but people believe what they want to believe and deny the real truth because the lies serve their vested interests.

When Covid-19 hit in 2020, the writing was on the wall as we watched the supply chain clog up, the truckloads of product held up at docks, we watched as a staggering number of people were laid off and unemployment quadrupled. An increase in prices, at the grocery stores and gas stations was inevitable.

Government officials were predicting in 2020 during the Trump administration that the stock market would tumble and that inflation would rise drastically. And it has. Prices at the grocery store are staggering with many staples being so high many of us on limited incomes just can’t afford the basics, so we go without.

But in our sensible and stable minds we know that all of this is because of Covid and its aftermath.

When listening to the debate between the South Dakota Gubernatorial candidates I couldn’t help but take note that Noem lied, “I’m hearing about how they’ve been devastated by the rising inflation by the policies coming out of this White House and Joe Biden, that are supported by Jamie Smith.”

She blames inflation and rising prices on Joe Biden and his administration because it is in her best interest to lie to the public. Even if Trump had been re-elected, inflation would have risen because of Covid-19, it was inevitable. But there it is, “Noem speaks with forked tongue.” She is from her father the devil; the father of the lie and the truth is not in her.

There is nothing more refreshing than to run into a person who speaks truth. They are like beacons of light on a cold dark dreary night when you’ve lost your way. Listening to Jamie Smith speak the truth is like that beacon of light.

Che hecetu ksto!

(Contact Ernestine Anunkasan Hupa at


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