Indianz.Com > News > Ernestine Anunkasan Hupa: Living the life, thanks to Tim Giago
Ernestine Anunkasan Hupa
Ernestine Anunkasan Hupa displays an award received by Native Sun News Today, then using the name Native Sun News. The newspaper received First Place in General Excellence award for Weeklies over 2,000 in the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper contest. Photo: Native Sun News Today
The life of Kings
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

I always remember that Tim Giago used to say the life of a journalist really is the life of Kings. I learned since then it was a quote from American Journalist H.L. Mencken.

The first time I met Tim Giago was in 1999. My husband at the time, Robert Chasing Hawk, had written a column about diabetes and we had gone into the Lakota Journal office on Omaha Street in Rapid City to deliver it.

I knew who Tim Giago was, as did just about everyone else in Indian Country. I had been reading his newspapers, Lakota Times, Indian Country Today and Lakota Journal since the early 80’s. In fact my step-father Alvin Fast Wolf worked for Tim delivering papers and used to write a weekly column called the “Wondering Wolf.” The only thing I didn’t know that day, when I finally got to meet him in person, was that Tim would become my mentor, my muse and a father figure and that he would give me opportunities that I could never have imagined.

I was a late bloomer and had been a housewife and I sold Indian Tacos for a living. I went back to college after my first husband left the family and attended Cheyenne River Community College which became Si Tanka Huron University. While at Si Tanka I had taken courses in Desktop Publishing which included Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Pagemaker. I worked at Si Tanka Vision, the school newspaper and dabbled in writing, layout and ad sales.

So just before graduating, in 2003, I applied for a job at Lakota Journal and was called in for an interview. So my very first job after graduating was working for one of Tim Giago’s  newspapers, although my degree was in Business Management with a minor in Marketing.

Tim immediately put me to work as a staff writer and it was my first experience working for someone. I had always run my own business selling Indian Tacos. I had a difficult time adjusting to the clock and when I say the clock, I mean the clock, because in the journalism world everything’s about deadlines, and putting the paper to bed on time.

My first editor was Dottie Potter and it was grueling, it was like going through journalism boot camp. My first samples of writing where, as was termed in the office, bleeding. In the old days when you turned your writing into the editor, she would mark it up with a red pen.

I remember one of my first writing assignments was to cover the Central States Fair. Tim told me to find as many Native American people to interview as I could. So I did, I wrote the story and showed it to Dottie and she said it wasn’t long enough and that I had to go back and interview more people. On my second trip to the fair I took a photograph of a young Indian boy on the merry-go-round.

That photograph was entered into the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s annual competition and it won a first-place. My first experience out in the journalism world and winning an award was amazing, it was invigorating. It whetted my appetite to go out and get more stories that made a difference.


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Read the rest of the story on Native Sun News Today: The life of Kings

Note: Copyright permission Native Sun News Today
Contact Ernestine Anunkasan Hupa at

Note: Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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