There’s nothing worse than capitalizing on the culture, heritage, history and spirituality of another race. And when the almighty dollar is soaked in the blood of long-lost innocents of a brutal and senseless military attack, this capitalistic gain not only becomes arrogant mockery, but it borders on sacrilege and contempt of humanity.
A longtime publisher of newspapers and magazines that have found a niche with the Native American reading public, an 81-year-old named Tim Giago, has big plans to purchase 40 acres of unusable prairie land, filled with nothing but rubble, weeds, rocks, and non-fertile soil, located on a flood plain, for the outrageous sum of $3.8 million. And with none of his own money invested, Giago intends to raise funds from pulling on the contributions from outsiders — mostly Caucasians — to fulfill this dream. According to all I’ve interviewed for this article, Giago’s scheme has little, if any, local support on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Tim Giago said he plans to build some kind of museum and possibly, a gift shop or novelty store, perhaps even an open-air pavilion where Indian crafts can be sold, on this property. The site he intends to buy was once property where a store stood — owned and operated by the Gildersleeve family - and this tract of land is close to the battlefield where about 300 Lakota Indians lost their lives in just a few hours on Dec. 29, 1890. According to reports and legal documents, this land is owned by a Caucasian businessman named Jim Czywczynski.
“I am 81 years old and I am at that age where I am not looking for any personal gain. I figure the best place for Wounded Knee to be is not just owned by the Oglala, It should be owned by all of the nine tribes of the great Sioux nation,” Tim Giago said in an article in Indian Country Today Media Network on Dec. 29, 2015.
Czywczynski told ICTMN Giago is the perfect person to purchase the historic site.
“There is no man in South Dakota that knows more about Wounded Knee then he does. He is an elder with three doctorates in journalism; He rode his tricycle on the steps of Wounded Knee when his father worked at the Trading Post.”
Giago says he has already created a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called the National Historic Site of Wounded Knee Inc., this ICTMN article reads.
So what about the dynamics of building the store, along with a gift and novelty shop, perhaps even an outdoor pavilion in which Native American arts and crafts can be sold? According to a post on Last Real Indians: “For decades the Gildersleeves operated a trading post approximately 200 yards from the mass grave where the soldiers buried those who they had murdered on Dec 25, 1890. The purchase of the land was signed by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier who had that very same year begun the implementation of his pet project the Indian Reorganization Act. This unprecedented policy brought to Indian country the democratic constitutional governments in place today and ousted the centuries old traditional forms of consensus based governance that were in place up until that point.”
But nobody is applauding Giago’s plan who live around this Wounded Knee area: “It’s a bad idea,” a full-blooded Lakota Hereditary Chief named Fred Sitting Up told this writer in a telephone interview a few days ago. “If you talk to the real Lakota people, especially the ones who feel Wounded Knee belongs to them, this is disrespectful to our people. Just think of all of those who lost their lives here.”
“None of those who are involved with this are real Lakota. And because they’re not Lakota, they don’t understand us. It’s very disrespectful. We don’t want anything like this to be built there. The people who can do something – and by this, I mean the government — they won’t do anything. Unless it’s a place like Arlington National Cemetery, they refuse to act,” Chief Sitting Up told me.
In many ways, Tim Giago has not only been a publishing dynamo, but also a pioneer for American Indian journalists and writers. And he has employed many Native Americans as the big boss at his publications. Giago, also known as Nanwica Kcijji, was born in 1934 and is a journalist and publisher. In 1981, he founded the Lakota Times at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where he was born and grew up. It was the first independently owned Native American newspaper in the United States. In 1991, Giago was selected as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and in 1992, he changed his paper's name to Indian Country Today. Giago sold the paper in 1998. Two years later he founded The Lakota Journal, which he sold in 2004 while thinking of retirement. In 2009, he returned to print publishing and founded the Native Sun News, based in Rapid City, S.D. He is also a columnist for the Huffington Post. He founded the Native American Jouralists Association (NAJA) and served as its first president.
There is no doubt Tim Giago is considered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as an Oglala Lakota Indian, but to three hereditary Lakota chiefs, who only consider full-blooded Lakotas as tribal members, he is referred to in their circles as a “fake Indian” or a “Mixed Blood Indian” — or even worse. . . .
Although most tribes these days go by blood quantum, or certificate of Indian blood, as a means in which to enroll new members, with the Lakota, or Oglala Lakota, things are different. Fuzzy and vague, even. The Oglala Lakota have no blood quantum listed on online directories (that I’ve researched, at least) ; so the hereditary chiefs who I’ve interviewed for this article, in saying that only full-bloods are true Lakotas. must be laying down the true law of the land. During the course of my interviews, I heard the words ‘one quarter certificate of blood authenticity’ tossed around a bit, however.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, also Lakota Indians, have a ¼ blood quauntum. The Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, of Montana, have a ¼ blood quantum, too, but these Native Americans do not fall under the Lakota family of Indian tribes. Blood quantum requirements for most Lakota tribes I’ve researched remain cryptic and nebulous. According to Wikipedia, The Lakota reservations recognized by the U.S. government include:
Some Lakota also live on other Sioux reservations in eastern South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska:
In addition, several Lakota live on Wood Mountain Indian Reserve often referred to as Wood Mountain First Nation northwest of Wood Mountain Post, which is now a Saskatchewan historic site, according to Wikipedia.
And for the sake of expedience and simplicity, the innocent victims of the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry attack on Dec. 29, 1890, were virtually all Oglala Lakota natives, who inhabit the Pine Ridge Reservation near and around Wounded Knee Creek, S.D.
In addition, there are other Sioux tribes of rather close relations to the Lakota but they are not Lakota. These include the Nakota Indians and the Dakota Indians. Both are considered Great Plains Indian Tribes and both encompass northern states, with the Nakota Sioux Tribe also encompassing part of southern Canada, and the Dakota Indians concentration mostly in Nebraska, according to James Magaska Swan, who is Lakota and is enrolled in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
“Tim Giago is not Lakota nor is he a member of any other of the Lakota tribes,” Lakota Hereditary Chief Emerson Elk told me in a telephone interview early last week. “People who grew up on the reservation claim they’re Lakota but really they’re not. We have our language and our bloodline. It’s amazing to see this thing carried out. Non-Indians — they don’t belong to us. The full-bloods, the Oceti-Sak0win, they belong to us, and they’re the full-bloods only. Now you have all these people who claim they are Lakota but they are not.
According to the true Lakota, certificate degree of Indian blood does not count as anything. Only the true Lakota are full-bloods with only Lakota ancestors on their father’s side of the family tree. And any other type of mixed-blood line nixes the chance of belonging to the true tribe of Lakota, Chief Elk said.
“There are many people who are confused. They don’t know what the federal government did to us. But what transpired was that they turned all these artificial Indians into Lakota with their certificate degree of Indian blood rules. It’s all based on the corporate citizen, the social contract. The Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934, more commonly called the Indian Reorganization Act, attempted to educate, and assimilate this social contract between the government and the Indian. But we still have a treaty. And it’s for Lakota only. The Fort Laramie Treaty – and this treaty affirmed as a legal-binding document between two sovereign nations — the federal government and the Lakota Nation,” Emerson Elk told this writer.
“On Sept. 29, 2009, these artificial Indians became tribal Lakota Indians. Giago is from a family that drove livestock here with a beef cattle company. They drove cattle from Texas and brought these beef rations to the Sioux nations in the 1800s, and they just stayed and became part of the community. The government didn’t protect us. Many of these cattlemen stayed and claimed to be Lakota or Sioux. But they really are not. The dealings they did with our great-great grandfathers was unlawful. They stole everything from us, even our identity,” Chief Elk said in desperation.
“Listen: Crazy Horse’s blood is still here. This is what they don’t want. There is a treaty that says they cannot take our resources. They don’t have any idea about who we are or what we’re capable of — oh, they think we’re stupid and dumb. Do you know what the White Man’s definition of an Indian is from long ago? It was ‘a monster who stomps on this earth but cannot own it.’ Well, I say it’s all legal fiction. If they can prove they are Lakota, it’s fine, but to covet Is a great sin. Today you see the land being forsaken by these artificial Indians,” Chief Elk said.
“The Lakota, we only consider full-bloods as true Lakota, Today they’re using it to take away our resources and make policies. Last April they terminated the federal supervision. This left Indian tribes in a quandary – now they’re under the state jurisdiction which leaves them as a corporate citizen as the last part of the Capstone Doctrine. Divine Right of Kings. Manifest destiny, Today it’s called eminent domain. They are now taking our oil,” Chief Elk complained.
“Tim Giago is lying. He is not Lakota. He committed a crime. it’s called Lakota identity theft. We know him. We have his family history. If you look at the family tree of Giago, he is actually a Mexican who is hiding under the Indian rules of the Lakota Nation. For our tribe, the Lakota, the main thing that counts is the daddy’s blood. Here is a half-breed trying to be Lakota Sioux. If you are a white man, you can’t own Indian land. Whoever is going to claim ethnicity according to the Red Man’s blood needs to prove himself a Lakota full blood. And this goes back to the oldest treaty — the Seven Counsel Fires of the Great Sioux Nation,” Chief Elk explained to this writer.
Another full-blooded Lakota, Stan Sarcomesout (pronounced ‘Star Comes Out’), also told me in a telephone interview a few days ago, “n my eyes he’s non-Indian. He’s Lakota though. I don’t know, he’s part German or something. Pine Ridge Village - that’s where they live.”
Starcomesout, a 63-year-old who lives on the Pine Ridge Reservation near these historic Wounded Knee landmarks and served in the U.S. Army Infantry in the Vietnam War between 1971 and 1974, was also a tribal police officer for 24 years (with the Dept. of Public Safety on the Pine Ridge Reservation).
Starcomesout said he originally decided to become a tribal cop to watch the “goons” who have infiltrated the Pine Ridge Reservation. “Giago started a newspaper back then and every issue had at least one article that blasted AIM (the American Indian Movement). The land they’re talking about is the land the Gildersleves owned, Starcomesout told me.
In 1973, the Gildersleves sold this parcel to Czwyczynski for $ 20,000, according to news reports.
“None of this has anything to do with the battlefield site or the burial site, where a mass grave was dug and hundreds of our dead were thrown into this grave. Then it was covered up. To me, it’s the name `Wounded Knee’ that raised the price of this land to such a high level. The person that owns it now — this Czwyczynski guy — threw the name ‘Wounded Knee’ in it to bring up the price of land, Giago wrote stories about the Gildersleeves’ store and about how bad AIM is.” Starcomesout explained.
“It’s just a piece of land near the battlefield site and burial site. Giago wants to buy it and build a museum where store used to be. There is much local opposition to this. Everyone in that community knows who he is — in the Wounded Knee community — and in that community, there are descendants of those killed in the Wounded Knee Massacre. They call themselves the Wounded Knee Survivalist Group. My suggestion is for these people to come together, hire a good lawyer or law firm to represent them, and try to get a large portion of the money of the sale of this land (through a civil lawsuit),” Starcomesout said.
“Yes, they need to get an attorney and make a claim to it. I’ve been pushing this idea to that community and that group. Emerson Elk lives in Wounded Knee. That land is deeded land – it’s now owned by non-tribal members. It will stay state land and taxes will be paid on it. They should make claim to the millions that have been tacked on to that 40 acres. That white man who got that price so high used the name `Wounded Knee’ to get that price so high – he makes it seem that the site where the Gildersleeves’ store once sat has something to do with battlefield site or the burial site. Actually, it’s not.”
“Anyhow, the people there who live there in the Wounded Knee community and are direct descendants of those who died in the massacre need to make claim to that multi-million dollar figure. If he didn’t use the name `Wounded Knee’ that price wouldn’t be so high, Starcomesout, who said he doesn’t consider himself a hereditary chief, but a warrior for his people, told me.
“Mostly ranchers come in here and lease all the land. Over 100 ranchers, maybe more, are on the reservation and they use up all the land and it’s not fair to traditional Indians. It hurts our people who want to raise crops and have their own cattle. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the tribal counsel often work against the interests of the traditionals. The BIA is supposed to be a big brother and keep an eye on us and take care of us, but they oftentimes go in interest of outsiders — like these ranchers,” Starcomesout told me.
“The BIA is not good for any tribe,” he continued. “It needs to go. We can’t move ahead without their approval. We can’t even start our own businesses without a lot of interference from the BIA. Since the 1930s, they’ve been working with the ranchers. The tribal counsel does the same. The traditional people are left out. We don’t have money to have our houses repaired. There are no jobs. All the jobs are in Pine Ridge Village where all the goons live. The Occupation of 1973 was about this – standing up for our interests and rights. The Occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973 did some good, though, but maybe it didn’t do so much good. I don’t know. Anyhow, I feel that it gave us pride. Our men started growing their hair long again. People didn’t have to hide the fact that they are Indians,” Starcomesout said.
Meantime, James Magaska Swan, a Lakota and the leader of the United Urban Warrior Society, has been taking an active role in fighting the sale of this land and the development of the tract which once housed the Gildersleeves’ store. He and the United Urban Warrior Society are planning a one-day rally on the Wounded Knee sacred grounds this summer to show Giago that the Lakota people do not want a museum built where many now come to pray and grieve the loss of the innocents slaughtered that horrible December day in 1890.
“Ninety-nine percent of those who live here don’t wan t. Here’s the thing: Years ago, Tim Giago started Indian Country Today, then he started up The Lakota Times and now he has Native Sun News. He’s a well-known newspaper publisher and editor. Tim Giago was a goon back then. He says AIM burned down his newspaper. He claims AIM firebombed this newspaper. He’s always blaming AIM for this – he hates AIM and he hates Leonard Peltier, in particular. Honestly, I think this whole thing about buying this land and building a museum on it is in retaliation to AIM, the 1973 Wounded Knee Occupation, and Leonard Peltier.
“The truth of the matter is that people don’t want this museum to be built here. The community doesn’t want it. The tribes don’t want it. There are nine reservations up here, and they’re all Lakota. To all the natives, Tim Giago is assimilated. He’s not a well-liked guy. Mario Gonzales is an attorney who is helping Giago doing this. A lot of our people have no use for Mario Gonzales. Many of us consider Gonzales to be a wheeler dealer,” James Magaska Swan told me in this recent telephone interview.
“Tim Giago doesn’t support any activism at all. No pipeline stuff, He doesn’t like AIM, like I said. And Leonard Peltier, a political prisoner? Tim Giago hates him. Giago’s completely assimilated. His mother is a native but his dad isn’t. His dad was white,” Swan said.
“He’s trying to make the money for Rapid City. Rapid City is a very racist area. And here’s where it’s the worst: the price of that forty acres is outrageously overpriced. It’s not worth even one-tenth of that $3.9 million value. It’s all prairie land. Just rock and gravel,” Swan said.
“But this land is spiritual to the people. Tim Giago has none of his own money invested here. He’s trying to buy this land with the money of others. And the very people he’s catering to, well, almost all of them are Non-Natives. He’s seeking assistance from outside the area to promote this deal. And I feel that the big reason he wants to buy this land and build this museum is to get back at AIM. Every year the AIM has big celebration there, near where that store used to be. He’s very vindictive. And he’s doing this to get back at them. All those old AIM leaders like Dennis Banks, Russell Means, and Leonard Peltier,” Swan told me over the phone.
Phyllis Hollow Horn, who has also taken a lead role in spearheading opposition to the sale of James Czywczynski’s land and Tim Giago’s plans to build some kind of shop and museum on this tract, wrote on her Facebook page above a petition against these proposals: “I am dead set against the sale of the killing fields of my relatives! As a descendant of a survivor of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre and a lifelong resident here at Wounded Knee, I DO NOT support Tim Giago's effort to capitalize on the blood of our ancestors.”
Meanwhile, according to his words in the ICTMN article published on Dec. 29, 2015, Tim Giago seems to be in this museum deal for all the right reasons. At least, according to him, Tim Giago: “I'd like to see a Native American Holocaust Museum built on the site,” he says in the article. “Not just for the people who were killed at Wounded Knee but for all those who suffered at Bear Creek, Washita, Sand Creek and every tribe that had a similar massacre could have a room where they could display their history.”
He also says purchasing the historic site and building of a museum would do much to improve relations between Indian and non-Indian people.
“People in Germany, France and Italy probably know more about Indian country than people living here in America. Can you imagine a really beautiful Holocaust Museum and a big trade pavilion for Indian artisans and craftspeople? They could set up booths year-round and sell their arts and crafts to the tourists. We would have tourists come from all over the world and stay in Rapid City go to the restaurants and hotels, Take buses to Wounded Knee, It would create over 200 jobs For the people down there. It would be also a boost financially to Rapid City, South Dakota,” he says in the ICTMN story.
Another Lakota Hereditary Chief, Francis He Crow, told me in a recent telephone interview: “ I know the oral history of what’s going on. The government is the one that has to have everything written. On the Indian side, there is none of this written. The elders back in 1950s, `60s, `70s and `80s talked about what happened.
“Article 1 of the Fort Laramie Treaty talked about the Bad Man Clause. And there is a law that says certain persons cannot be able to enter or occupy this area. They allowed non-Indians to come onto this Indian reservation because this treaty does not recognize non-Indian marriage. But the commission allowed them in and allowed them to live with Indian women and when they got tired of it, this allowed white kids all over the Indian reservation. And the commission allowed them on the tribal roles. And they allowed them 160 acres for half breed illegitimate children,” Chief He Crow told me.
“The Fort Laramie Treaty is made up of three treaties, actually, that were made in 1837, 1851 and 1868. The 1868 treaty is the final treaty. It’s very confusing and Indians didn’t know what they signed but an interpreter explained it to them. So that’s how they came to understand it. Our traditional law, only recognizes the head of family. We don’t recognize the degree of Indian blood either. For true Lakota, there is no blood quantum, and only paternal ancestors must be Lakota,” he said.
“When the 1868 (Fort Laramie) Treaty was signed, they made too many laws for the Indians without having our consent. The Dawes Act, 1887, or the Allotment Act, is an example of this sort of thing. True bloods never asked for this. They did this to destroy us as an Indian people,” he added.
“Here on the Pine Ridge Reservation, there are really no businesses owned by true Lakota. Full-bloods. They are all owned by these artificial Indians. They’re fakes. They control the Indian money. They control our Tribal counsel. The Tribal Counsel is made up of artificial Indians. Some of these people are even pure whites but they have relatives on tribal roles, so they use this to enroll themselves as Lakota. Ninety percent of those on the census rolls are all fake Lakotas. They are citizens of the USA and because of this, I guess they meet the blood quantum the BIA recognizes as being a Lakota, which is only one-quarter. And as long as they have relatives on tribal rolls, other members of their families us this to enroll as Lakota, too,” Chief He Crow told me.
“As far as that land is concerned, we like to keep it the way it is until we make a decision,” Chief Francis He Crow continued. “Whenever we come to completely control our own reservation, we will make a decision as to what to do with this land. That land belongs to the Sioux nation and not just one tribe. That land is sacred land,” he said.
“My grandfather's story is very sad. Little boys and girls were used as target practice by the 7th Cavalry and the Indian scouts during the Wounded Knee Massacre. My grandfather was eight years old then and was close to Chief Bigfoot, one of his relatives. My grandfather survived the massacre, but my great-grandmother was injured and she bled to death after a wagon took her to a makeshift hospital at an Episcopal Church that was at Wounded Knee. They used used this as a hospital to try to save those who were injured in the battle. Luckily, my Grandfather survived without injuries,’ he said.
According to Chief He Crow, not only he, but Emerson Elk and Fred Standing Up are direct descendants of Chief Bigfoot and all three of these men, all either in late-middle age or elderly now, are also part of the Crazy Horse bloodline. All three of these men are historians of the Lakota culture and heritage and all are involved with treaty issues and sit on a treaty counsel.
“Giago lies,” He Crow said. “We asked him about his family tree. I never saw his family tree. I would like to know where he comes from. That’s the only way they can prove themselves today. They must prove that their father, grandfather, great-grandfather and so down the line were full-blooded Lakota,” Chief He Crow said.
“In the beginning it was like that. We call ourselves hereditary chiefs because we are the head of our families and all our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, great-great grandfathers and so down the line were all full-blooded Lakota men. My great-great grandfather was Chief Bigfoot. His father was Chief One Horn, and his father Chief Red Fish. The last one in my oral history was Chief Buffalo Horn War Bonnet - and this goes all the way back to the 1700’s. For us, there is no certificate of Indian blood. No blood quantum. We have an old treaty signed in 1782 with Great Brittan called the Seven Counsel Fires that recognizes the way we acknowledge who is a true Lakota and who isn’t.”
“He’s a big liar, this Giago,” Emerson Elk told me. “My auntie — who is 86 years old — said that he never worked at at the Gildersleeves’ store. Others who are familiar with these claims Giago said, like Patrick Pumpkin Seed, used to work there in 1973, with Howard Wounded Horse, and both said Giago is lying. He never worked at the store.”
“The Lakota know each other. We have relatives, neighbors and friends,” Chief Elk said.
“And those three doctorate degrees in Journalism that Giago claims he holds? Well, they;’re honorary degrees. We’ve checked into his education. He didn’t realize it would catch up to him someday. the BIA leaders are big liars. All they do is take away from Lakota. I live at Wounded Knee. Not one business here is owned by a full-blooded Lakota. Just like Tim Giago, they own businesses here to get away from taxation. Today these businesses must prove they are Lakota-owned for the Affordable Care Act. Some of these people are going to get charged with Conspiracy to Commit Fraud by Trafficking in Identification Documents.”
According to James Magaska Swan, Tim Giago sent him the following correspondence on Feb. 10, 2015: “James, do you have an alternative plan that we could utilize to get the land back?” And Swan’s response to Giago on Feb. 11, 2015, is as follows: “Here is the bottom line! ...The land should belong to the Oglala Sioux Tribe or a Tribal member! Not the non natives and not other Tribes! The Wounded Knee site should be left as it is! (1-Mile Commercial, Buffer zone). And the white man needs to accept the fair market value of what the land is worth based on other lands near the site. Or return it as a gift to the rightful owners! If you want to build a museum build it but NOT at that site! This is what the Oyate want! (People) I would suggest you taking the time to read the comments in our petition that has gone viral with over 2,200 signatures to stop this in less than 1- Week. And I'm not the only one against this! Our spiritual leaders say no! Our Tribal Council says no! (Not the phony BIA one either). We will seek an injunction and we will seek an investigation as to how the BIA dropped the ball here. And how they figure this 40-acre of land is valued at 3.8 Million (Who appraised it) we will also keep our option of eminent domain on the table. If you want to help the community! Help us get a Indian center in Rapid City! We have a plan for that…”
In a Last Real Indians news story, published last year, Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer said: “It would very difficult for anyone to buy the land and use it for any commercial purpose. The tribe owns the lands around the forty acres and the tribe would never give anyone an easement to develop it. What I am thinking and what I would like to propose is where you would benefit and the survivors would benefit. Right now no one would benefit. This land is really sacred land where our people died on it and I do not think it would ever be used for a commercial purpose. The survivors however would like to make it a nice place where they could educate the people. Our own people and those off the reservation…”
Hereditary Chief Emerson Elk told me that there are big problems on the Pine Ridge Reservation. For starters, the area where Giago wants to build this museum lies on a flood plain and no construction of a commercial building will be allowed to be installed there. And other problems, like having many Lakota residents living in old FEMA trailers that were brought there after Hurricane Katrina shows the insanity and arrogance of the Giago plan. Heavy wind damage ruined the permanent homes of many Lakota Indians on the reservation and these poor souls were forced to live in inadequate condemned FEMA trailers.
“Back in the old days, you had what we call the ‘loaf around the fort people’, or those that have been assimilated,” James Magaska Swan told me. “They’re also called `the brown and white people’. Tim Giogo isn’t an Indian, and I’m not saying this as a prejudice or racist remark. I’m just giving you the facts on how true Lakota people see this guy.”
“In the Jewish culture, anyone knows who the real Jews are by the way they prepare and eat their food, their mannerisms, the way they wear their clothing, like wearing a Kippah. The way real Jews celebrate their religion and raise their families kind of separates them from those who just claim to be Jewish. We’re like that in a lot of ways, too. Real Indians, I mean,” Swan said.
“Tim isn’t native. He doesn’t wear Native American Regalia. he doesn’t act like an Indian. He doesn’t write his language and he doesn’t speak his language. Tim Giago doesn’t attend pow wows except if there is something in it for him — like he’s going to be given an award,” Swan mentioned.
“On a personal note, he’s retired four or five times in last few years. He sells a paper, starts up a new one. Then he sells that paper, declares his retirement, then some time later he starts up another publication. Lakota people have always had a lot of problems with the Rapid City Journal. We feel it’s a racist paper. But the Rapid City Journal prints his paper for him – the Native Sun News,” Swan said.
“I worked for Indian Country Today Media Network as an advertising representative in the early 2000’s and even before I started working there, Tim had already sold it. And everyone I’ve ever talked to who has worked for Tim Giago has told me that he’s very hard to work for; he fires an employee, then rehires that worker. Then he fires them again and rehires them again. I know how he operates,” Swan said.
“One of the big things I want to fight in the next year or so – when the Calvary attacked the camp, it was like retribution, and many of the 7th Cavalrymen were holdouts from Custer. Ninety percent of the Lakota killed on Dec. 29, 1890 were women, sick people, and the elderly. The U.S. Congress issued 18 Congressional Medals of Honor to some of these Cavalrymen, and to this day, they are still recognized.” “
“We’ve been trying to rescinded these medals. And before I die I want to see these Medals of Honor rescinded. For the Seventh Cavalry, shooting all these unarmed defenseless Lakotas with riles used to kill buffalo wasn’t any heroic act to give medals out for, and we demand that these medals be rescinded,” Swan said.
“I don’t like Giago. He’s a anake, a scammer. I don’t like Mario Gonzales, his attorney, and my dislike for Gonzales is even worse than my disdain for Tim Giago. Tim Giago is getting all his money from non-natives for building this museum. He has, very little local support from Natives here, on our reservation. He blocked me from Native Sun News. I can’t comment, can’t post anything, can’t even send a message there. Anyone who says anything in opposition to Tim, well, he shuts him down. Why does he want to build a museum on our sacred ground? People go to this area all the time and pray. And many of the prayers are those of grieving for those who lost their lives here. Tim Giago wants to build something that’s deplorable,” Swan said.