A bouquet of stink-roses came around when Tim Giago distributed a slew of insulting misrepresentations about me in his column, posted under a ludicrous headline, "The Education of Jerry Reynolds."
As an employee of Indian Country Today (then the Lakota Times), I did learn a few things about reporting from Tim Giago. Luckily, I could draw on my own prior background as a researcher, so I relied on myself to get the facts straight. The facts Giago got wrong in his article are as follows:
The episode of the garlic is a complete fabrication, dreamed up with intent to insult. Nothing like it ever happened. I was never a source of offense on this or other grounds to my fellow employees or to the people I interviewed. Any attempt by Giago or any member of his staff to say otherwise is so much retrospective storytelling, again drummed up for the purpose of insulting a person they simply don't have it in them to praise.
Giago never knew me as a "first time writer," as he implies. He was never a "mentor" to me of any description.
The "chore" of familiarizing me with Indian country could not have been the long-drawn Olympian task Giago implies. In less than a year I had won a prize for community-based environmental reporting. Within two years, I had swept all of the top prizes for every category of reporting from the state newspaper association. Within four years, I had won a top national award. Any help I got came from the people I interviewed. In all cases, Giago's only contribution was to enter my stories in the contests. Some chore.
When I went to work for the Lakota Times, I was visiting my mother for a lengthy spell, not living with her in the usual sense and most certainly not living off her, as implied.
No one in my family has ever owned or driven a "Beemer."
I did not save up my first paychecks from Giago to buy a car. I bought the car as soon as I was hired full-time, in early December 1988. Giago's idea that a dent in the car became a badge of my discontent is meaningless to me.
I attended two high schools, one in Gordon, Neb., and one in Summit, N.J. I was in Summit the year of the Yellow Thunder incident.
Much more could be written about the attitude of a person who so obviously serves up insults on the pretext of begrudging praise, and about the priorities of his distributors. For now, I am content to set the record straight.
Tim Giago: The education of Jerry Reynolds