timgiago
Tim Giago. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today
Notes from Indian Country
It is time to put the paper to bed
Monday, June 7, 2021

Because the Native American Journalists Association decided to pass on their annual conference because of the pandemic and rightfully so, I decided to do a small conference just to bring a few Native journalists together, but more than that, to honor the female journalists who have toiled long and hard to bring news of Native America to the public.

I wanted to honor journalists like Avis Little Eagle, Amanda Takes War Bonnet, Delphine Red Shirt, VI Waln, Shirley Sneve, Suzan Harjo, Mary Polanco, and so many more who have done so much to keep us informed and educated on Indian issues. I also wanted to do a “Memoriam” for those Native journalists who have traveled to the Spirit World in the past few years. Journalists like Adrian Louis, Jerry Reynolds, Harlan McKasato, Minnie Two Shoes, and several others.

The reason I wanted to do it this year is because on July 12, I will be 87 years old and I do not know if I will be around next year to do it. And then I got hit with an illness and now it looks like I will not have the time or energy to accomplish this mini-convention. I express my sincere regrets for having to back away from this, but in this case I feel that I cannot do this to the best of my ability.

I am proud of the Native American Journalists Association, an organization I founded in 1984. It has been a great source of inspiration to young Native journalists and it continues to provide information and guidance to those of us still practicing journalism.

I know that once this terrible pandemic is gone they will come back with a bigger and better National Journalists Convention than ever and I hope the pick up on my idea and honor these great Native American female journalists and pay tribute to the great journalists we have lost.

Loren Tapahe, Mark Trahant, and Tom Arviso have continued to keep us informed and educated about what is happening in Indian Country. They also deserve all of our accolades.

I know what it is like to be in the trenches and often taking on the thankless job that is the task of Indian journalists. Twenty years ago most Indian media was under the control of the tribal governments. When I came along I wanted an independent press that was not beholden to any tribal government and so I built the Lakota Times and Indian Country Today in the 1980s. The Navajo Times was founded in 1967, but until recently was a paper owned by the Navajo Nation. It became independent under Loren Tapahe and Tom Arviso.

The names of the newspapers I created, Indian Country Today and the Lakota Times are still being used by others. I suppose I should be flattered to think they would take over the names of my old newspapers because they thought they were such successful newspapers. In any event I wish them luck.

I am going to retire from this business in July and my current newspaper, Native Sun News Today, will be in good hands. I have a wonderful, well-trained team here at NSNT ready to pick up the mantle and run with it.

For more than 40 years I have worn the visor and the arm garters of an editor and publisher. I am proud of the many newspapers I have published all of those years, but it is time for a new generation of Native journalists and editors to take over.

I hope they continue to keep the doors of public opinion open and continue to publish all sides of a story. Once again I apologize for not being able to get my last convention organized. I doff my hat to NAJA because I know they will step up.


Contact Tim Giago at najournalist1@gmail.com