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I will see you again Tim Giago
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
Native Sun News Today Columnist

This is a tough piece to write. Weighing upon my mind for a few days – ever since advised about Tim Giago’s passing. A comment or two is in order, me somewhat discombobulated.

I have heard about his stellar career – Nieman Fellow meeting with American Presidents, getting the Washington Redskins and other teams to change names; drawing attention to the boarding school problems, establishing the first Native American Day, etc., but I only relate to personal association.

It has my honor and privilege to be associated with Tim Giago for 17 years. For most of that time it was from afar – emails and telephone calls.

After surviving six years in Northern Cheyenne tribal politics, four on Council, and then the first woman elected as Tribal Vice-President, I was pert near done in. At that time, women were not even supposed to speak in public, yet I dared to do that, though it did no apparent good.

After you get bounced out of tribal politics it is hard to get another tribal job. Yet a grant opportunity showed up, encouraging Indians to become entrepreneurs. I thought to myself – what could I do? Perhaps put pen to paper.

Thus, I started a small-town weekly reservation newspaper.

How hard could that be?

Lot harder than you might think. Especially since I was slightly upset about my treatment as an elected official. Time to turn the tables. I got a little wild with criticism of the Tribal government, which made them mad, but endeared me to the tribal members. I knew the inside selfish workings and gladly blabbed it.

The name of my newspaper was A Cheyenne Voice which also got online, bringing me to the attention of Tim Giago. According to his personal survey, at that time there were 104 practicing Native journalists in all of America. He had personally tutored, reached out and touched each one. Because he was one of the first knowing in spades how tough that was.

He called me with simple request: “The Cheyenne and Sioux are related. Want to send me stories?” he suggested, “We can mention your little newspaper from time-to-time. Maybe reprint a story or two.”

That was how it went for years. He printed many of my stories and better yet paid on time. He knew that was critical, himself talking no salary for the past decade getting along on social security. The paper, ‘the news’ was more important.

I only met him once in person, taking a quick moment to visit while I cooked for a language immersion camp at Bear Butte, which required a trip Rapid for grocery repair.

It was startling to meet him in person: a small physical specimen who supported a much larger legend.


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Clara Caufield can be reached at

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