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Tim Giago
Tim Giago is a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. He was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota on July 12, 1934.

Giago attended elementary and high school at the Holy Rosary Indian Mission. He enlisted in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict in 1951 and was honorably discharged in 1958.

He attended college at San Jose Junior College in San Jose, California in 1960 under the G.I. Bill and transferred to the University of Nevada at Reno. He majored in business with a minor in journalism. He was awarded the prestigious Nieman Fellowship in Journalism to Harvard University for the years 1990-1991.

Giago was the founder of the Lakota Times in 1981. The newspaper withstood firebombs, had its windows shot out with shotguns on three separate occasions and Giago received many death threats including one attempt on his life while building the newspaper successfully on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The paper was re-named Indian Country Today in 1992. He served as editor and publisher for 18 years building it into the largest independent Indian newspaper in America before selling the paper in 1998. He started the Lakota Journal in 2000 and served as its editor and publisher until his retirement in July of 2004. Indian Country Today, The Lakota Journal and the Dakota Journal are still viable weekly newspapers that were all founded by Mr. Giago. The Lakota Country Times at Kyle, SD and the Teton Times in McLaughlin, SD, are both weekly newspapers started by former editors Amanda War Bonnet and Avis Little Eagle, who were both trained by Giago at his newspapers. A former Lakota Times employee, Kevin Peniska, started Wellness Magazine.

He was the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association in 1984. In 1983 he sent letters to every Indian newspaper he could find asking them if they would be interested in forming a Native American Press Association. He then worked with Journalism Professor Bill Dulaney of Penn State to raise the money to hold the first meeting of Indian journalists at Penn State. He was elected as the first President of the association when it was formally assembled on the Choctaw Nation the next year. He was the recipient of the H.L. Mencken Award for Editorial Writing from the Baltimore Sun in 1985. He holds Honorary Doctoral Degrees from Bacone College in Oklahoma and from the Nebraska Indian Community College at Winnebago, NE.

Giago was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1994.

Giago has received many professional awards including the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism in 1991, The South Dakota Education Association/National Education Human and Civil Rights Award in 1988, the Golden Quill Award for Outstanding Editorial Writing by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors in 1997, and Best Local Column by the South Dakota Newspaper Association for the years 1985 and 2003 and the Great Spirits Award from the Navajo Institute of Social Justice in September of 2004. The Harvard Foundation honored him in 1991 for his contributions to the growth of American Indian newspapers and Indian journalism.

In 1976 his weekly television show, The First Americans, made its debut on KEVN in Rapid City, SD. It became the first weekly television show hosted and produced by an American Indian on a commercial television station.

His books include The Aboriginal Sin and Notes from Indian Country Volumes I and II. Giago also edited and helped write The American Indian and the Media. His new book, Children Left Behind was published in August of 2006 by Clear Light Book Publishing, Inc., Santa Fe, NM.

He has served on many boards including three years on the Freedom Forum Board of Advisors with Allen Neuharth, founder of USA Today, and on the Running Strong for America Board with Billy Mills, the winner of the 10,000 meter Gold Medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

A column by Giago challenging Republican Governor George Mickelson of South Dakota to proclaim 1990 a Year of Reconciliation to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee was accepted by the Governor and 1990 was proclaimed The Year of Reconciliation between Indians and whites.

That same year an editorial by Giago was read on the floor of the Sate Legislature by Lynn Hart, a half Lakota, half African American. The editorial called for the state to change Columbus Day to Native American Day. The legislators voted in favor of it and South Dakota became the only state in the union to celebrate Native American Day as a state holiday.

He has appeared on national television on shows such as Nightline and the Oprah Winfrey Show. He has also been featured in many magazines such as Newsweek and People Magazines. His weekly column, Notes from Indian Country, appears nationally and also appears in many South Dakota newspapers as well as in many Indian newspapers and on the websites of, and

Giago has lectured on Indian issues at many colleges and universities including Harvard, MIT, UCLA, University of Illinois, Boise State, Chadron State, Bacone College, Nebraska Indian Community College, Florida A&M, University of Colorado, Navajo Community College at Shiprock, NM, and Miami of Ohio University to name a few.

His weekly column is distributed by McClatchey News Service (formerly Knight Ridder) in Washington, DC.

He can be reached at 605-430-8217,, or by writing him at Tim Giago, P.O. Box 9244, Rapid City, SD 57709.

Entries by Tim Giago

Lies, Damned Lies And Plain Nonsense

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2016 | 12:16 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji - Stands Up For Them)

There is one thing about the Internet, Facebook and other forms of social media that is alarming: They open up the world to the worst forms of distortion of facts and outright lies, speculation, and...

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The Pretenders Of The Boston Tea Party

(2) Comments | Posted July 3, 2016 | 1:21 PM

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© 2016 Native Sun News

July 3. 2016

There are two words in the following paragraph that jump out at most students of Native American history, but are probably impervious to the ardent participants of the Tea Party movement.

The two words...

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Proposal To Develop Wounded Knee Presented In 1976 By Lakota Treaty Council

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2016 | 4:08 PM

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji -Stands Up For Them)

In 1976 the Lakota Treaty Council tried to schedule a meeting with President Gerald Ford where they hoped to present to him several proposals and arguments including putting a stop to a forced acceptance of the money set aside in the...

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Why Did the Indigenous People Convert to a Foreign Religion?

(6) Comments | Posted June 12, 2016 | 1:00 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji - Stands Up For Them)
© 2016 Unity South Dakota

June 13, 2016

It is written (Niehardt - Black Elk Speaks - 1932) that in the end, Black Elk converted to Catholicism and it is also well-known that...

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Some Good Old Days Really Were 'Good Old Days'

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 12:10 PM

Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji - Stands Up for Them)

It was around midnight when I heard the knock on my office door at the old Lakota Times office on the Main Street in Pine Ridge Village in 1981. The newspaper was located in the old Western Auto...

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The Lakota Times Owes Its Beginning to 'Pug'

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2016 | 2:11 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji - Stands Up For Them)

Her nickname was "Pug" and I never found out why? She was 82 and was the editor, publisher, layout and design specialist, photographer, typesetter and sometimes janitor of the Sheridan County Star in...

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A Final Word on Wounded Knee

(3) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 4:23 PM

There is an old saying that goes, "Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk" or in this case "skunks" and I do not intend to do that. Of course the conclusion of that saying is "because you can't win."

This will be my final word on my efforts...

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When the Lakota Woman Spoke; Kevin Costner Listened

(1) Comments | Posted April 16, 2016 | 1:40 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji, Stands Up For Them)

The movie "Dances with Wolves" was aired on the Encore/Starz Channel this weekend. It brought back a lot of memories to me. It made me remember the day my friend Doris Leader Charge died. She journeyed...

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How Does One Set a Price on a Historic Site?

(1) Comments | Posted April 10, 2016 | 3:17 PM

When I decided to take on the task of buying the land at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota from the white landowner, James Czywczynski, I knew there would tongues wagging, heads nodding, and even some hints of hate.

The fact that I intended...

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Looking For Help That Never Came

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2016 | 2:35 PM

When someone shoots and kills another person it is called homicide.

If a police officer in South Dakota shoots and kills someone it is called "justifiable homicide."

There is a huge problem in this state because police officers and medical doctors are not properly...

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Cildhood Memories of Wounded Knee

(0) Comments | Posted February 21, 2016 | 11:55 AM

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji - Stands Up For Them)

WOUNDED KNEE - When some folks say leave Wounded Knee alone; leave it as it was what are they talking about? Do they mean like it was 90 years ago or like it is now?

In the 1920s...

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Childhood Memories of Wounded Knee

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2016 | 3:24 PM

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji - Stands Up For Them)

WOUNDED KNEE -- When some folks say leave Wounded Knee alone or leave it as it was -- what are they talking about? Do they mean like it was 90 years ago, or like it is now?


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More Lies and Damned Lies

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 9:47 AM

The British Statesman Benjamin Disraeli once said during a heated debate, "There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics."

A recent blog against me may not have contained too many statistics, but what it lacked in statistics it made up with unabashed lies and damned lies.

Some of...

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Wounded Knee Was Destroyed; Not Liberated

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2016 | 12:12 PM

Soon there will be posters floating about and advertisements asking residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation to celebrate the "Liberation" of Wounded Knee in February of 1973.

This action causes many of us old timers to scratch our heads in wonderment and ask ourselves how did the takeover of a...

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Lakota Man Signs Rights to Buy Wounded Knee Land

(3) Comments | Posted December 30, 2015 | 11:57 AM

By Ernestine Chasing Hawk

The historic site of Wounded Knee is cold and quiet on this day that marks the 125th Anniversary of the massacre that happened on December 29, 1890.

Fresh fallen snow covers the grounds of the burial site and the cold cement of the floor that once...

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Wounded Knee and the Moon of the Popping Trees

(0) Comments | Posted December 27, 2015 | 12:53 PM

It was after a night so cold that the Lakota called it "The Moon of the Popping Trees" because as the winter winds whistled through the hills and gullies at Wounded Knee Creek on that morning of December 29, 1890, one could hear the twigs snapping in the frigid air....

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The Editor Who Called for the Extermination of the Sioux

(1) Comments | Posted December 21, 2015 | 4:48 PM

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
2015 Native Sun News

When the movie The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939, it was indeed a wonder. It was an exciting children's fantasy movie with vivid colors, great songs, and it was a movie with a message, but should this...

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Remembering Old Lakota Friends at Christmas

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2015 | 3:45 PM

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)

December 16, 2015

As Christmas Day draws near, I think of my friends who have journeyed to the spirit world.

I am reminded of one of my dearest friends. His name was Enos Poor Bear. A veteran of World War II, Enos always carried...

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A Word About Thanksgiving

(6) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 4:41 PM

There is a plaque on Cole Hill in Plymouth, Mass., that reads:

Since 1970, Native American have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of Pilgrims and other European...
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The Irony of the Annual Buffalo Roundup

(1) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 12:50 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© 2015 Native Sun News

There is a historic marker west of Custer, S. D. that reads in part: " Historic Sites, Buffalo Rock - Site where the last buffalo was killed in the Black Hills in...

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