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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

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

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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...

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'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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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The man who saved Rapid City

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 9:22 AM

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
Notes from Indian Country

The Rapid City flood of 1972 was a disaster. It claimed 238 lives, many of them Native Americans, and severely damaged the tourism season that summer.
The mayor of Rapid City in those days was a gentleman named Don...

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Only Tom Daschle can save the Affordable Care Act

(4) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 11:56 AM

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
October 31, 2013

Only Tom Daschle can save the Affordable Care Act

Everyday news about the Affordable Care Act gets worse.

President Barack Obama, in the early days of his Administration, before he was kicked from pillar to post...

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Good idea, but not in our neighborhood

(3) Comments | Posted July 14, 2013 | 1:55 PM

By Tim Giago

If you are Native American and you have lived in Rapid City for any length of time, the actions of the Department of Parks and Recreation Advisory Board last Thursday would have come as no surprise.
After two previous meetings, the board finally voted 4 -...

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South Dakota Public Radio flunks on two counts

(2) Comments | Posted May 19, 2013 | 5:52 PM

South Dakota Public Radio flunks on two counts

Notes from Indian Country
By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© Unity South Dakota

It is ironic that when experienced reporters familiar with Indian country are replaced by new reporters or broadcasters with little or no experience in reporting from Indian...

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

(40) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 1:14 PM

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...

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Remembering Allen Neuharth, the Newsman From South Dakota

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 4:11 PM

A man dressed in black and silver approached me at a newspaper convention in San Francisco 30 years ago. He held out his hand and said, "Hi, Tim; I'm Al Neuharth and I also am from South Dakota."

That was the first time I met the man...

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Signing Off After More Than 30 Tears

(5) Comments | Posted February 10, 2013 | 1:17 PM

We all, eventually, reach that point in our lives when it is time to move on.

For more than 30 years I have spent each Sunday morning listening to National Public Radio with a piping cup of coffee at hand while I racked my brain to turn...

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Indian Country Loses Three Great Leaders

(1) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 11:19 AM

Perhaps there are many people in America who do not know of the three great Native Americans I am about to eulogize, but all three passed away within two weeks of each other, and all three were champions for Indian rights all of their lives.

Wayne L. Ducheneaux was an...

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The Destruction of Wounded Knee, 1973

(7) Comments | Posted January 13, 2013 | 2:21 PM

In a couple of weeks flyers will be strewn across the Pine Ridge Reservation asking the residents to honor the "Liberation of Wounded Knee in February of 1973." Those who would celebrate and hand out flyers have a delusional recollection of the past.

Wounded Knee was a small village...

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