IPR is featuring some of the many Native American and Indigenous pioneers and modern-day heroes to celebrate Native American Heritage Month
Tim Giago, also known by his Lakota name Nanwica Kciji, was a Native American journalist who led the way for others in his community and covered stories that were important to the Native American community and beyond.
Born in 1934 in South Dakota, he grew up and attended a Catholic boarding school on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Later, he joined the Navy at age 17 and was assigned to produce the Naval Base newspaper. After his time in the Navy, he attended the University of Nevada to earn a degree in business with a minor in journalism.
Giago founded three newspapers: The Lakota Times, The Lakota Journal, and the Native Sun News. His newspaper was the first to call out the former name of the NFL Washington Commanders as being offensive. His paper also challenged the South Dakota governor at the time to change Columbus Day to Native American Day. South Dakota became the first to make Native American Day a state holiday.
He was a founding member and the first president of the Native American Journalists Association. Giago was named a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1991. He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1994 and into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2007.
Giago died of cancer in 2022 at age 88.
“Legendary Native American Newsman Tim Giago on Ending His Historic Career While Celebrating a Birthday” – The South Dakota Standard
“South Dakota Indian Journalist Gave Voices to a People Long Ignored” – SFGATE
“History” – Native American Journalists Association