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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

A String of Coincidental Deaths in Rapid City

(1) Comments | Posted October 19, 2014 | 2:35 PM

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

October 20, 2014

It started in May of 1998. Bodies began to show up in or near Rapid City Creek.

Of the eight bodies discovered in 1998 and 1999 six were Native Americans,...

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Crazy Horse and Chips: Boyhood Friends

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2014 | 4:50 PM

Where is the burial place of the great Lakota warrior Tasunka Witko; Crazy Horse?

According to Bob Morrison (his Lakota name was Holy Dance) the bones of Chief Crazy Horse were moved several times after his death in order to protect them from the government. In the Lakota way...

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Following the Spirit of the Sacred Pipe

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2014 | 12:58 PM

There is a Democrat running for the soon-to-be- vacated seat of Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD).

His name is Rick Weiland and in a note to me last week he wrote, "I am very disappointed, Tim. I believe this race is going to be very close between Rounds...

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All Indians Ask Is for America to Honor Our Treaties

(1) Comments | Posted September 28, 2014 | 3:04 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
September 29, 2014

When I observe American Indians being deliberately deleted from nearly every aspect of American history, I usually refer to the old Jewish adage that goes, "What are we, chopped liver?"

Let me be very frank with...

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An Independent Can Awaken 'Party' Zombies

(2) Comments | Posted September 21, 2014 | 12:45 PM

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

September 22, 2014

When you register as an Independent in South Dakota you are made to feel as if you are from Iowa or Wyoming and you are trying to slip into this state to vote.

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Standing Tall for Native American Day

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2014 | 3:10 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)

September 15, 2014

An unprecedented event happened in South Dakota 24 years ago, an event that has not been duplicated by any other state: South Dakota adopted October 12 as a state holiday to be called Native American Day....

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American Indians and Australian Aborigines Traveled a Similar Path

(3) Comments | Posted September 7, 2014 | 2:30 PM

There is a colonization connection the indigenous people of Australia and America share.

Both were driven to the brink of annihilation by invaders. Both had their children ripped from their arms and placed into institutional boarding schools intent upon acculturation by whatever means (See the movie Rabbit Proof Fence).


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There Can Be Dignity in the Face of Poverty

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2014 | 2:10 PM

Two Harvard graduates, Bevis Longstreth and Timothey Wirth, were discussing that Harvard should divest itself of investments in fossil fuels.

They argued that it is "repugnant to profit from enterprises directly responsible for carbon emissions or to allow shareholder funds to be deployed in searching for more fossil fuel."...

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A Farewell to My Friend Eugene Long Soldier

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 4:39 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© Native Sun News
August 25, 2014

My childhood friend Eugene Long Soldier died last week. He was one of the more fortunate Lakota who lived to the age of 80.

For a lot of...

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The Fourth Estate at Wounded Knee in 1973

(0) Comments | Posted August 17, 2014 | 12:30 PM

Newspapers from across the nation and the world found the occupation of Wounded Knee in February 1973 a very hot ticket. Reporters came, they saw, and then they wrote about it. Some saw only one side of the story while others retained their objectivity. But have no doubts that the...

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Like an Old Soldier Maybe the Redskin's Mascot Will Slowly Fade Away

(1) Comments | Posted August 10, 2014 | 12:15 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© Native Sun News
August 11, 2014

Neil Cavuto, a broadcaster with the Fox Business Network, can't be blamed for looking askance at the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for canceling the Washington...

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South Dakota Could Be a Political Hotbed in 2014

(3) Comments | Posted August 3, 2014 | 1:15 PM

Over the years I have encouraged Native American tribal governments to move their elections to coincide with the national elections in November.

I believed this to be very important for two reasons: First of all the Native American vote has been terribly overlooked by candidates seeking national office for...

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Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Are Treatable Diseases

(1) Comments | Posted July 20, 2014 | 12:56 PM

Notes from Indian Country:

A body is found behind the ice cream parlor on W. Main Street, just around the corner from the office of the Native Sun News and the first thing that goes through the minds of all of our employees as they report to work and see...

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A View from the 8th Decade

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2014 | 3:15 PM

Notes from Indian Country

Fifty-four years ago I was working at the J. C. Penney Store in Livermore, California when Mr. Penney himself came into the store.

He was visiting many of his stores and handing out copies of his book, A View from the Ninth Decade, to the employees...

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Celebrating South Dakota's 125th Birthday -- Or Not

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2014 | 10:41 AM

South Dakota, like North Dakota, was named after a people; the Dakota or Sioux as they were misnamed by the French, missionaries and the settlers.

Before it became a state it was known as Dakota Territory, clearly identifying it as a land belonging to the Dakota. It became a...

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The Tea Party Took Its Name Based On an Act of Deception

(10) Comments | Posted June 29, 2014 | 2:12 PM

In the past few primary elections the Tea Party has won some and lost some. Lately it's been more "lost some" than "won some."

Several months ago I wrote that the Tea Party was founded on an act of impersonation based on an act of deception. They named themselves and...

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Honoring the Dead and Celebrating a Victory

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 11:06 AM

It was on June 25, 1876, 138 years ago, that George Armstrong Custer and his Seventh Cavalry suffered their worst defeat at the hands of a combined force of Lakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne at the battle of Greasy Grass or Little Bighorn or Custer's Last Stand.

It depends on what...

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South Dakota Media Should Take Off Its Blinders and Talk About the Mascot Issue

(1) Comments | Posted June 15, 2014 | 11:50 AM

Nearly 30 years ago I wrote an opinion piece that ended with, "We are human beings and not mascots for America's fun and games."

That year Vernon Bellecourt and Michael Haney (both are now deceased) appeared at the opening game in Cleveland of the Cleveland Indians baseball team carrying a...

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My Granddaughter Asked: Is the World Coming to an End?

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 11:22 AM

My granddaughter will be 7 years old in October. Like many children that age she is bright and she is inquisitive. Her name is Juneau.

Case in point: She posed this question to her grandmother; "Is the world coming to an end?" Her grandmother was a bit taken back...

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Cobell Settlement a Massive Case of Incompetence

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2014 | 12:28 PM

The Cobell Settlement, as it has come to be known, started out as an effort by a great woman named Eloise Cobell, to right the wrongs inflicted upon Native Americans for more than 300 years. The manipulations of assets by the United States government when calculated correctly amounted to billions...

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