Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Apr 25, 2011

Oglala Lakota County - Government & Citizenship

Oglala Lakota County (formerly Shannon County) covers an area of 2,097 square miels and has a population of 14,373. It is located in the southwestern corner of South Dakota and borders Nebraska to the south. The entirety of Oglala Lakota County is within the borders of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and contains part of the Badlands National Park. It is South Dakota’s only dry, or prohibition, county. Pine Ridge is the largest community, and other communities include Kyle, Manderson-White Horse Creek, Oglala, Pine Ridge, Porcupine, and Wounded Knee.

Oglala Lakota County was renamed in honor of the Oglala Lakota people, a subgroup of the larger Lakota Sioux Tribe, who are the county’s main inhabitants. The county’s name was changed in May of 2015. Learn more about this name change here

Until 1982, Oglala Lakota County was one of the last unorganized county in the United States. It is one of two counties in South Dakota that does not have its own county seat (the other is Todd County). Instead, Oglala Lakota County contracts with neighboring Fall River County, which provides county services to Oglala Lakota County residents.

The County Commission includes five members who represent individual districts within the county. The Commission meets regularly on the first Friday of the month at 1pm in the lower level meeting room of the courthouse located in Hot Springs. Agendas and minutes can be found here.


Elections for Oglala Lakota County are managed via the county auditor’s office. Information on voting precincts, registration, and requirements can be found on the Oglala Lakota County Auditor’s website.

Find recent election results for Oglala Lakota County from the South Dakota Secretary of State.


Oglala Lakota County

The Oglala Lakota County Commission approved a total appropriation of $406,971 toward the county general fund and a total appropriation of $470,860 for the Road and Bridge Fund for the fiscal year 2016. For complete budget information from the county auditor’s office, click here.

Oglala Sioux Tribe

According to the Lakota Country Times, the Oglala Sioux Tribe set a total budget of $1,013,311 for the tribe’s general fund for 2016. $250,000 from an IHS settlement, $16,390 from the Land Buy Back program and $746,911 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Lease Account.

Public Safety

Oglala Lakota County shares a Sheriff with Fall River County. Public safety is also managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA provides services such as Fire Management, Social Services, Land Operations, Probate & Estate Services, and Facilities Management.

More Information

Community Planning

Thunder Valley: The Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation has received a $996,100 Sustainable Communities Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Working with tribal agencies, non-profits, subject matter experts and the Oglala people, the group will work to develop a blueprint for investment decisions, public and private, that will support a more sustainable future for the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota. For more information, check out Oyate Omniciye (Oglala Lakota Plan).

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