iOS app Android app

Tim Giago
GET UPDATES FROM 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 indianz.com, nativetimes.com and huffingtonpost.com.

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, najournalists@rushmore.com, or by writing him at Tim Giago, P.O. Box 9244, Rapid City, SD 57709.

Entries by Tim Giago

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

Cobell Settlement a Massive Case of Incompetence

(2) 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...

Read Post

Holocaust Museum of the Indigenous People Should Be Built at Wounded Knee

(29) Comments | Posted May 26, 2014 | 11:33 AM

Since 1492, the history of the Western Hemisphere has been marked by one of the greatest holocausts in the history of the world.

There are no true figures to quote about how many millions of indigenous people have perished in this land that was once their own. Those who...

Read Post

The Man Who Called for the Extermination of the Lakota

(3) Comments | Posted March 22, 2014 | 12:04 PM

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

The year 2014 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Wizard of Oz movie starring Judy Garland.

Websites ranging from Amazon.com to e-Bay will be selling everything from Dorothy dolls to Monopoly sets, cups, glasses,...

Read Post

Remembering the Great Native American Journalists

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 1:00 PM

A handful of Native Americans that have spent their lives as newspaper reporters, editors or publishers are wondering where journalism is headed in Indian Country. I can't answer that question, but I would like to give a shout-out to the great Indian journalists I have known.

Mark Trahant of the...

Read Post

'With Liberty and Justice for All'

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 11:17 AM

As I sat on at the podium in Washington, D.C., 20 years ago, I looked at the great African American women seated next to me. It was Black History Month and seated next to me were Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King.

In the audience was my lifelong friend,...

Read Post

Indians and Jews: Building a Holocaust Museum Together?

(2) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 12:03 PM

© 2014 Native Sun News

As a child I rode a tricycle on the sidewalks of Wounded Knee with my playmate Joanne Gildersleeve, the daughter of Clive and Agnes. Agnes was an Ojibwe woman from Minnesota.

I often ran up and down the steps of the Wounded Knee Trading...

Read Post

If I Had the Billions of Buffett and Gates

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2014 | 1:32 PM

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


As a long-time journalist, author and dreamer, I dream, dreams that will never be fulfilled, but they are dreams that I know are not impossible, but they are tiny dreams on the...

Read Post

The Great Escape From the Indian Mission Boarding School

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2014 | 2:21 PM

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© January 27, 2014, Native Sun News

My friend Pete Cummings and I had never seen any movies about great escapes so we had no prior knowledge about how to approach such an event.

We were sitting side-by-side on the swings in the...

Read Post

Two Books About Two Great Indian Chiefs Miss the Point

(3) Comments | Posted January 19, 2014 | 1:13 PM

The two books were written by different authors but they have one thing in common; they denigrate the American Indian while patting him on the back at the same time.

Empire of the Summer Moon, by S. C. Gwynne, a book advertised as "Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall...

Read Post

The Indian Mission Kids Only Knew Him As 'Roch'

(0) Comments | Posted December 29, 2013 | 12:11 PM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© 2013 Native Sun News

December 30, 2013

My old friend and classmate, Patrick Red Elk, from the Catholic Indian mission boarding school we attended, died several months ago and as I read his obit in the local daily...

Read Post

A Child's Prayer Brought About a Miracle

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2013 | 9:58 AM

The day was gray and overcast. Light snow had been drifting down all morning and it was shaping up into one of those cold, miserable days that make South Dakota the butt of so many jokes.

As I nursed my second cup of coffee that morning, through the foggy,...

Read Post

The Moon of the Popping Trees

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2013 | 12:47 PM

WOUNDED KNEE, S.D. -- On crystal clear nights when winter winds whistle through the hills and canyons around Wounded Knee Creek, the Lakota elders say it is so cold that you can hear the twigs snapping in the frigid air.

They called this time of the year, "The Moon...

Read Post

Chuckling at a Funeral Would Have Been a Disaster

(1) Comments | Posted December 8, 2013 | 12:06 PM

The mass had been said.

And now it was time for Tommy Brewer and me, attired in the vestments of altar boys, to lead the funeral procession out of the front door of the Holy Rosary Indian Mission church on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and...

Read Post