Shannon County is officially renamed Oglala Lakota County | South Dakota History
Shannon County is officially renamed Oglala Lakota County on May 1st, 2015. In a November 2014 referendum, 80% of the county voters approved the name change. The county had been named for Peter Shannon, chief justice of the Dakota Territorial Supreme Court. The name change reflects that most of the county’s residents are members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Oglala Lakota County is in the southwestern part of the state bordering Nebraska and its largest community is Pine Ridge. However, it does not have a functioning county seat. Hot Springs in neighboring Fall River County serves as its administrative center. The county contracts with Fall River for its auditor, treasurer and registrar of deeds.
Oglala Lakota County lies entirely within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and contains part of Badlands National Park. It is one of five South Dakota counties entirely on an Indian reservation. Its name recognizes a band of the Lakota people. And Oglala Lakota County is the only dry county in South Dakota. Liquor sales are not allowed within its boundaries.
On November 4, 2014, voters, by a margin of 2,161 to 526, voted to rename Shannon County to Oglala Lakota County. The name change was ratified by the state legislature the following March. And it was on this day in 2015, Governor Daugaard proclaimed May 1st as the official day for renaming Shannon County to Oglala Lakota County.
Production help is provided by Doctor Brad Tennant, Professor of History at Presentation College.