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Referendum Note: Pine Ridge Signers May Write “Shannon” or “Oglala Lakota”

Shannon County officially becomes Oglala Lakota County on Friday, although the county’s official website has already put “Oglala Lakota” in its header.

Which county is it?

This name change poses an interesting question for folks circulating referendum petitions. The last piece of information requested on each petition signature line is “County of Registration.” If a Pine Ridge resident signs a petition today, the legally correct answer is “Shannon.” But when Secretary of State Shantel Krebs reviews that petition on June 30, the correct answer will be “Oglala Lakota.” Uh oh—will Shannon/Oglala Lakota signatories be SOL?

No, says Deputy Secretary of State Kea Warne:

As long as everything else is correct on the signature line and the petition, we will accept either Oglala Lakota County or Shannon County as the name of the county of voter registration for that voter. We do urge the petition circulators to stress to the signers to list Shannon prior to May 1st and list Oglala Lakota after May 1st, but we will not throw out a signature line if they list Shannon after May 1st or Oglala Lakota prior to May 1st [Kea Warne, e-mail, 2015.04.27].

Petition signers, when in doubt, just tell the simple truth. If you are a registered voter in Manderson, Red Shirt, or Wounded Knee, write the official name of your county at the time you sign. For two more days, that’s Shannon. Starting Friday, that’s Oglala Lakota. But if you refuse to use the white colonizer’s name today, or if you balk at reconciliation and can’t bring yourself to write the Indian name on May 1, well, the Secretary of State won’t make a fuss for now.

One Comment

  1. Sabrina 2015-04-29 20:35

    I really appreciate that, actually. They didn’t have to do that, and it means they’re genuinely looking for real signatures not just punting people out on technicalities. Good news from the SOS office.

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