Voters on Pine Ridge Reservation approve county name change

Rep. Kevin Killer (D) led the petition to change the name of Shannon County to Oglala Lakota County.

Voters on the Pine Ridge Reservation overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to change the name of their county on Tuesday.

Shannon County will now be known as Oglala Lakota County. The measure passed with 80 percent of the vote, according to the Secretary of State.

“I think the biggest thing look back at history and see who lived here and who Peter Shannon was and there is a need to change it,” Rep. Kevin Killer (D), a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who led the petition to change the name, told The Native Sun News back in June. “There is also value in creating and using our own names for some of these things for future generations to learn from.”

The county is named for Peter Shannon, who was the Chief Justice of the Dakota Territory Supreme Court in the late 1800s. He served on a federal land commission to force the Sioux tribes to negotiate away their lands.

“Peter Shannon was the one who laid the groundwork for the Dawes Act. He set on a commission that went as far as recruiting the signatures of 5 year olds in order to pass an agreement on lands. The commission’s findings were presented to Henry Dawes and helped shape the idea behinds the Dawes Act,” Killer told The Native Sun News. “When there is that level of atrocity associated with the history there is a need to make a change.”

The ballot measure requires the South Dakota Legislature and the governor to approve the name change.

Get the Story:
Shannon County no more: Voters approve name change (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/5)

Related Stories:
Native Sun News: Indian lawmaker Kevin Killer makes big plans (10/27)
Native Sun News: Indian lawmakers seek new name for county (6/20)

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