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Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota facts for kids

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Oglala Lakota County
Indian Health Service Hospital in Pine Ridge on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, November 2011
Indian Health Service Hospital in Pine Ridge on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, November 2011
Map of South Dakota highlighting Oglala Lakota County
Location within the U.S. state of South Dakota
Map of the United States highlighting South Dakota
South Dakota's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  South Dakota
Founded 1875
Named for Oglala Lakota people
Seat None (de jure)
Hot Springs (de facto)
Largest community Pine Ridge
 • Total 2,097 sq mi (5,430 km2)
 • Land 2,094 sq mi (5,420 km2)
 • Water 2.8 sq mi (7 km2)  0.1%
 • Total 13,672
 • Estimate 
13,586 Decrease
 • Density 6.5198/sq mi (2.5173/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district At-large
Hot Springs in neighboring Fall River County serves as administrative center for county

Oglala Lakota County (known as Shannon County until May 2015) is a county in southwestern South Dakota, United States. The population was 13,672 at the 2020 census. Oglala Lakota County does not have a functioning county seat; Hot Springs in neighboring Fall River County serves as its administrative center. The county was created as a part of the Dakota Territory in 1875, although it remains unorganized. Its largest community is Pine Ridge.

The 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.

The county is named after the Oglala Lakota, a band of the Lakota people. Many of the county's inhabitants are members of this sub-tribe.

Reservation poverty affects the county, which is the poorest county in the US. (28 county-equivalents in the U.S. territories are poorer). Oglala Lakota County is the only dry county in South Dakota.

The newspaper for Oglala Lakota County is The Lakota Country Times.


The place of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre is located in Oglala Lakota County.

The county was originally named for Peter C. Shannon, Chief Justice of the Dakota Territory Supreme Court. Until 1982, Shannon County and Washabaugh County, South Dakota, were the last unorganized counties in the United States. Although it was organized and received a home rule charter that year, the county, as noted above, contracts with Fall River County for its Auditor, Treasurer, and Registrar of Deeds.

On November 4, 2014, voters in the county voted by a margin of 2,161 to 526 to rename Shannon County to Oglala Lakota County. The name change was ratified by the state legislature on March 5, 2015. May 1, 2015 was proclaimed by the governor as the official day for renaming the county.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,097 square miles (5,430 km2), of which 2,094 square miles (5,420 km2) is land and 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2) (0.1%) is water.

The county includes the headwaters of the Little White River.

Major highways

  • US 18.svg U.S. Highway 18
  • SD 40.svg South Dakota Highway 40
  • SD 391.svg South Dakota Highway 391
  • SD 407.svg South Dakota Highway 407

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 2,003
1930 4,058 102.6%
1940 5,366 32.2%
1950 5,669 5.6%
1960 6,000 5.8%
1970 8,198 36.6%
1980 11,323 38.1%
1990 9,902 −12.5%
2000 12,466 25.9%
2010 13,586 9.0%
2020 13,672 0.6%
2021 (est.) 13,586 0.0%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 12,466 people, 2,785 households, and 2,353 families residing in the county. The population density was 6 people per square mile (2/km2). There were 3,123 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 4.51% White, 0.08% Black or African American, 94.20% Native American, 0.02% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.42% of the population.

There were 2,785 households, out of which 51.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.40% were married couples living together, 36.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.50% were non-families. 13.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.36 and the average family size was 4.72.

The county population contained 45.30% under the age of 18, 10.60% from 18 to 24, 25.60% from 25 to 44, 13.80% from 45 to 64, and 4.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females there were 99.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $20,916, and the median income for a family was $20,897. Males had a median income of $25,170 versus $22,594 for females. The per capita income for the county was $6,286. About 45.10% of families and 52.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 60.80% of those under age 18 and 36.00% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated community


The county is divided into two areas of unorganized territory: East Shannon and West Shannon.

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