The Lakota people had lived in the Great Plains for generations before American settlers arrived in the region in the early 1800s and Native tribes began more than a century of resistance against encroaching white settlers, resulting in widespread violence, destruction and migration. Pine Ridge and the surrounding Black Hills were the sites of several U.S invasions and battles with Native tribes in the 1860s and 1870s, including the Battle of Rosebud, the Battle of Little Big Horn and the Slim Buttes Battle. By the 1880s, the Oglala Lakota tribe had lost their rights and were forced onto the newly created Pine Ridge Reservation.
One of the most notorious events to take place in what is now Shannon County and Pine Ridge was the Massacre at Wounded Knee. In 1890, after a single shot killed a U.S. officer, Army soldiers respond by killing Miniconjou Chief Big Foot and more than 300 Native American men, women and children.
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