Indianz.Com > News > Native Sun News Today: Tim Giago joins Native American Hall of Fame
James Parker Shield: National Native American Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City
Tim Giago – A “Shining Star” inducted into National Hall of Fame
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Northern Cheyenne Correspondent, Native Sun News Today

OKLAHOMA CITY – On November 5, the First Americans Museum auditorium was filled with the “Who’s Who” of Indian Country for the 2022 Induction Ceremony of nine notable Native Americans into the National Native American Hall of Fame.

The purpose of that organization is to recognize and celebrate the contributions of contemporary Native Americans, both to their own people and the world, said James Parker Shield (Little Shell / Chippewa Cree from Montana) founder and Executive Director.

Master of Ceremonies Tim Tall Chief noted that the inductees are “shining stars” of Indian Country, nominated and vetted through rigorous selection for life-long contributions to their people. One of them was the late Tim Giago, founder, owner, publisher, editor and journalist of Indian Country Today and Native Sun News Today. He was honored and recognized for more than forty years of service in journalism, a guardian of free speech in Indian Country.

A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, born in Kyle, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Giago spent many of his formative years in the community of Wounded Knee. Giago’s tribal name “Nanwica Kciji” translates to “Stands up for Them”.

He did that.

Jackie Giago, Tim’s wife of 25 years and business manager of Native Sun News Today was on hand to accept the award, resplendent in black and silver. “Tim was so pleased to receive this recognition,” she stated. “He was looking forward to attending this event and renewing acquaintance with the other inductees, having known many of them for many years. Sadly, the Creator called him home before this was possible, after a long battle with diabetes, which afflicts so many tribal people.”

Other inductees included: Governor Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation; Ryneldi Beneciti, Navajo Nation the first woman to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association; John Echohawk, Pawnee Nation, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund; Suzan Harjo, Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee Nation; Joanne Shenandoah, Oneida, Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter; Earl Old Person Sr. Blackfeet leader and Patricia Zell, Arapaho/Navajo descent, former Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

Tim Giago - National Native American Hall of Fame
The award presented by the National Native American Hall of Fame to the late Tim Giago in recognition of his work in the field of journalism. Photo by Native Sun News Today

The NNIHAF was but one of many honors that Giago had received during his long tenure as a leading Native American journalist.

He was one of the first Native Americans to be accepted as a Nieman Fellow, Harvard University. In 1990, he prevailed upon the late South Dakota Governor George Mickleson to establish Native American Day, replacing Columbus Day, a movement which spread across the nation. They also established a Year of Reconciliation in South Dakota, a state where much conflict between Natives and non-natives occurred.

In association with other national tribal spokespersons such as Suzan Harjo, Tim led the campaign to get the Washington Redskins Football team to make a name change. “We are not mascots”, he often wrote.

That battle required decades of commitment and in the end, he and others won, showing that it is possible for poor Indians to challenge and defeat corporate America. If you have the guts to stick it out.

Tim Giago
Tim Giago. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

As a survivor of Indian Boarding Schools, Giago was one of the first to call attention to that matter, now a matter of international concern. He penned a book titled, “Children Left Behind: The Dark Legacy of Indian Mission Boarding Schools” detailing his personal experience.

As a founder of the Native American Journalism Association (NAJA), Giago made it his business to mentor and support other tribal “voices”. He also supported non-Indian journalists friendly to the native cause. At first count, in the 1980’s he estimated there was about 104 Native journalists in all of America. Many of those were struggling in remote areas of Indian Country. He reached out to encourage and support nearly all of them.

“You live on the ground,” he would say. “Write it like you see it and know it. Write to your people. Others will read it too, but your people are your audience.”

Clara Caufield can be reached at

Note: Copyright permission Native Sun News Today