Pine Ridge Reservation

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Topics: Politics

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Wazí Aháŋhaŋ Oyáŋke in Lakota) is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation in South Dakota.

The Reservation, which was originally called the Great Sioux Reservation by white settlers, was established with the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and encompassed roughly 60 million acres.  However, the U.S. government violated the treaty in 1876 by opening up 7.7 million acres to homesteaders and private interests.

In 1890, the U.S. 7th Cavalry killed more than 300 men, women and children, near Wounded Knee Creek, who were trying to get to Pine Ridge.  The massacre has come to be known as the Wounded Knee Massacre.

In the 1970s, the reservation was the site of a 71-day-stand-off between American Indian Movement (AIM) activists and FBI Agents and the National Guard.  AIM was lead by Dennis Banks and Russell Means.  Two FBI agents were killed and two Oglala Lakotas were killed.

Minnesota Public Radio’s Kevin McKiernan was inside the Pine Ridge Reservation when the firefight broke out.  MPR also covered the trial of the AIM leaders and other issues surrounding the reservation.

For additional resources, please search the Minnesota Historical Society collections.

The illustration documents Small Oglala tipi camp in front of large government school buildings in open field.
John C. H. Grabill Collection, Library of Congress, Reproduction number LC-DIG-ppmsc-02511