Tim Giago

      Pioneering Native American newspaperman Tim Giago has died at age 88. Giago, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, passed away Sunday. No cause of death has been given.

     Giago founded the country’s first independently-owned Native American newspaper, the Lakota Times, in 1981 with his first wife, Doris. 

     He sold it in 1998 and later founded both the Lakota Journal and the Native Sun News, where he was a long-time editor and journalist. He was also a regular or frequent columnist for many years with other publications. 

     Giago worked alongside the late George Mickelson, then the governor of South Dakota, to declare 1990 the “Year of Reconciliation” between whites and Native Americans.

      Their collaboration also led to South Dakota becoming the first state to recognize the second Monday of October as Native American Day and not Columbus Day.

      Giago was also a strong advocate to end the use of racist and demeaning mascot names for sports teams and schools.

     Rapid City Mayor and former police chief Steve Allender says Giago realized the importance of featuring positive stories on the skills, talents and achievements of Native Americans, and to share their views and opinions.” 

     Allender says Giago provided historical perspective and relevance to many issues while promoting “the growing importance and influence of Native Americans to their communities.”