International Information Discover America

Home > About SD > Our History

About South Dakota

History and Heritage of South Dakota

Our HistoryPrehistoric beasts. World-famous pioneers. Native American and Wild West legends. All called South Dakota home at one time.

When you visit South Dakota, you will discover thousands of years of history in our abundant fossil fields.  Walk in the footsteps of legends like Wild Bill Hickok and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Or experience American Indian heritage first hand at a pow wow.

Archaeology & Paleontology


Plains Indians

If you’re interested in what lies beneath the surface, you’ll love exploring South Dakota’s ancient past. Fossils of extinct species, giant wooly mammoths and dinosaur bones have been discovered in South Dakota’s fertile fields.   In South Dakota, you’ll discover the rich culture of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota Indian tribes, which make up the Sioux Nation. 

Lewis and Clark


Prairie Pioneers

When President Thomas Jefferson finalized the Louisiana Purchase, he sent two explorers to discover the untamed frontier. Find new adventures along the Lewis and Clark Trail in the heart of South Dakota.   The Homestead Act passed by Congress in 1862 provided for the initial settlement of present-day South Dakota by early prairie pioneers.

Historic Sites



In South Dakota, you can walk in the footsteps of history. Imagine what it was like working in a missile launch facility during the Cold War, take a step back in time at a historic military post, or brush up on your history at any of South Dakota’s numerous historic sites.    South Dakota’s history is preserved and on display in more than 100 museums across the state, where you’ll find legendary music, fine art, life-sized displays, and much more.