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Pine Ridge Reservation
Oglala Sioux Tribe

Reservation: Pine Ridge Reservation; Oglala and Jackson Counties
Division: Teton
Band: Ogala
Tribal Headquarters: Pine Ridge, SD
Traditional Language: Lakota
Total enrolled members: 38,332
Enrolled Members Living on Reservation: 19,639
Land Area: 2,000,000 Acres
Major Employers: Ogala Sioux Tribe, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Services

Location of Pine Ridge, Oglala Sioux Reservation

The land that makes up Pine Ridge Reservation is an integral part of the Lakota culture and the economic base of the reservation. The reservation is situated in southwestern South Dakota on the Nebraska state line, about 50 miles east of the Wyoming border. The area includes over 11,000 square miles contained in seven counties; Bennett, Custer, Fall River, Jackson and Oglala counties in South Dakota.

Oglala Sioux tribal flag
Oglala Sioux Tribal Flag

Pine Ridge, Kyle and Wanblee are the largest communities on the reservation.

There are three diverse geographic regions with in Pine Ridge.

  1. The southern and eastern sections consists of wide open grassy plains.
  2. The west central section merges into the small eastern spurs of the Black Hills which are further to the west. The result is an area of rolling pine covered hills and ridges, providing the inspiration for the name Pine Ridge.
  3. To the north of the wooded area are approximately 160,000 acres of Badlands.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe is part of the Great Sioux Nation of the Titowan Division. The Black Hills are located in the center the Great Sioux Nation. In 1874, General George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry entered the Black Hills and found gold. The Gold Rush started the conflict between the United States and Great Sioux Nation. The United States Government wanted to buy or rent the Black Hills from the Lakota people, and the Great Sioux Nation refused.

The Great Sioux Nation went through years of battles, massacres and broken treaties ... all while trying to keep ownership of their land.

On December 29, 1890, the 7th Cavalry massacred 300 of Chief Big Foot's band of Minneconjou Teton Sioux at Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Years of fighting for their land had finally left the Great Sioux Nation demoralized and defeated.

Today, the Oglala Sioux Tribal government maintains jurisdiction within the boundaries of the reservation. The Tribe is governed by an elected body consisting of a 5 member Executive Committee and a 16 member Tribal Council, all of whom serve a four year term.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe’s major economic occupation is cattle ranching and farming for tribal operators. The Tribe operates a large Parks and Recreation Department and guided hunting for small game and large game like buffalo and elk. The Tribe also operates the Praire Wind Casino and the Cedar Pass Lodge which includes a motel, restaurant and gift shop.

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