Native Sun News: Rapid City observes April 5 as Tim Giago Day

The following story was written and reported by Christina Rose, Native Sun News Associate Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Tim Giago is lauded by Jim Scull, owner of J. Scull Construction, and state dignitaries for his work on behalf of Native Americans and efforts to bring understanding between all residents of Rapid City.

Tim Giago Day celebrated in Rapid City
By Christina Rose
Native Sun News Associate Editor

RAPID CITY—After more than 30 years as a journalist, April 5, 2013, was declared Tim Giago Day in Rapid City, S.D. Local and state dignitaries commended Giago for his years of service to the Native people, both in the community and nationally, and for bringing understanding between cultures.

Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker said he had conspired for some time with Jackie Giago, Tim’s wife, to bring the day to fruition. Kooiker said, “We want to thank you for your years of service, not just to your people but to all people.”

The lights were out in the City Council Chambers, with only a large bright screen proclaiming the day in Tim Giago’s honor. As Giago was led into the room, the lights came on and friends and associates of many years greeted him with a loud, “Surprise!” Giago’s response was a big smile, and he remarked, “Don’t do that to me!”

In attendance were members of the City Council and Chamber of Commerce, representatives of senators and congressmen, friends, and the staff of Native Sun News.

Mayor Kooiker presented Giago with a Proclamation that included many of Giago’s important accomplishments, including his unfailing work in bringing harmony to the community.

South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson sent a letter that was read by West River Director Darrell Shoemaker. The letter credited Giago with shaping mainstream understanding of Native American culture, tradition and way of life through his newspapers and columns. It also congratulated Tim on educating, entertaining, informing, and persuading people of all the important issues facing Native Americans in this state and nation.

Johnson noted that, “Even to the present time, media outlets focus on negative stories but over the many years, Tim has worked to set the journalistic bar higher for his peers, and to focus on the many positive aspects of Native culture.”

Mark Haugen, field representative for Senator John Thune read a letter from the senator with “warmest congratulations” and thanking Giago for his service in the US Navy among other accomplishments. He read, “Through your newspapers you have brought much needed attention to the issues of our tribal citizens and community, and have spread that message not just through our communities but worldwide.”

Another letter sent by Representative Kristi Noem was read by her representative Brad Otten. “Your efforts over 20 years ago with the late Governor Michelson to create a year of reconciliation, as well as with Governor Rounds in 2010 to create a Year of Unity have increased understanding between our communities and continue to bear fruit today.” The letter further stated that Giago had shined a “bright light” on the needs in Indian Country and brought understanding of the challenges faced not only in South Dakota but nationally.

Prairie Edge, a large store in Rapid City devoted to Native Arts was represented by General Manager Dan Tribby who said he had known Giago for 20 years. Tribby called Giago a great journalist and great activist, and said, “Somewhere at the end of the columns, written in invisible ink was, ‘Folks, just stop and think about it.’ The articles have gotten ire up but at the end of it all, a lot of things wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t the man turning the crank.”

Jackie Giago said of her husband, “He is like the Godfather of Native American Journalism. He is a true leader, and people love him or hate him, but he can do more with a pen than other people could do with a gun.”

Giago recently announced that he would retire from writing his columns and his retirement was denounced by all in attendance at the event. Even as Giago’s 79th birthday approaches, no one in attendance doubted they would continue hearing from him for years to come.

Newly appointed Managing Editor of Native Sun News Brandon Ecoffey, 29, commented on the effect Giago has had throughout the years. He said, "My generation has never known a world without the literary contributions of Tim Giago. In the same way that the American Indian Movement made it okay for Native people to express our culture in everyday life, Tim Giago made it okay for us to express ourselves in print. The honoring by the city today was a wonderful recognition of what Tim has done for both Natives and non-Natives is this city, and it was well deserved."

(Contact Christina Rose at

Copyright permission by Native Sun News

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