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Native Sun News Today Editorial: Defending freedom of the press in Indian Country

Standing up for the rights of the people to know is our motto

By Native Sun News Today Editorial Board

At times we like to remind our readers of our policies.

We are often asked how much it costs to run an obit and the answer is “nothing.” We do not believe that the loss in the family should ever cost the family.

We have been careful to place a disclaimer on our Editorial Page that says we do not necessarily agree with the opinions by writers on our Editorial or Opinion Pages and that includes letters written to the Editor.

There is an effort made by us to watch for profanity and of accusations against someone that could prove to be libelous. Please remember that you, as a reader, have every right to respond to any article that appears in this newspaper

A good example of that happened last year when Tribal Council woman Jackie Siers read an article that she strongly disagreed with and when she asked if she could respond to it we told her to go right ahead and she wrote a great column answering the allegations and giving her side of the story.

She apparently read the disclaimer we have posted on the Editorial Page.

A letter writer recently sent a letter that questioned the honesty of a tribal official and there was some anger expressed to our sales representative when he was in Pine Ridge on business. He immediately responded to them by saying it was a letter from a member of the Tribe that made those accusations and not the editor or staff of the newspaper.

Of course there are going to be letters and opinions that you will not necessarily agree with and you have every right to respond to them. Would any of our readers like it better if we did not allow the free flow of opinions from showing up in the newspaper? If we did not print letters or columns that challenged or disagreed with the Tribal Government we would be accused of censorship.

We strongly believe in freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Tribally owned newspapers have for years stifled the opinions of its citizens simply because the Tribe owned the paper and the Tribe did not allow any opinion in the paper that was critical of them. We are an independent newspaper and beholden to none. We are not, nor do we ever want to be, the legal newspaper of the Oglala Sioux Tribe or any other Tribe. If we are beholden to them financially we would not be free to be critical of them if we uncovered corruption or illegal activities within the Tribe.

Most of the employees at Native Sun News Today were born, raised and educated on an Indian reservation. We know our roots and we know our own people. Just because we reside in Rapid City does not make us non-citizens of the reservations where we were raised. All of us still have relatives living on the reservation and what happens to them happens to us.

But one thing you should know, we may not always agree with what you say, but we will defend with our lives your right to say it. And that’s what freedom of the press is all about. “Standing up for rights of the people to know” has been our motto for more than 34 years and it still is.

Find even more news and opinion on the Native Sun News Today website: Standing up for the rights of the people to know is our motto

(Contact the Editorial Board of Native Sun News Today at

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