NAJA selects Tim Giago as 2017 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award recipient

Posted by NAJA on 08/14/2017

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) has selected Tim Giago as the recipient of the 2017 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award.

Giago was nominated by the NAJA-Medill selection committee for his lifetime of service to journalism and many years of dedication to NAJA as a founder of the organization. He is a lifetime member and the first president of the original Native American Press Association.

Dr. Patty Loew will present the award on behalf of the Medill School of Journalism at the NAJA Membership Luncheon and Business Meeting. She cited Giago’s leadership as one of the reasons she joined the organization as a member.

“Initially, he founded the Native American Press Association, but broadened that to include Native broadcast reporters, and the more inclusive Native American Journalists Association was born. So, I suppose you could say that he predicted media convergence 30 years before it actually happened,” Loew said. “Since the founding of NAJA, Tim's fearlessness has only increased. He has never wavered from his reporting on Native sovereignty, treaty rights, and environmental destruction and serves as a model for all of us in Native media.”

Giago was the founder of the weekly Lakota Times in 1981. The paper was re-named Indian Country Today in 1992. He served as editor and publisher for 18 years, building it into the largest independent Indian newspaper in America before selling the paper in 1998. He started the Lakota Journal in 2000 and served as its editor and publisher until his retirement in July of 2004.

He worked with journalism Professor Bill Dulaney of Penn State to raise the money to hold the first meeting of Indian journalists at Penn State and was elected as the first president of the association when it was formally assembled at the Choctaw Nation in 1984. NAJA celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014.

Giago was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1994. He also became the first Native American ever to be inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame on Nov. 10, 2007. 

Giago is currently the Publisher of Native Sun News, the largest weekly newspaper in South Dakota.

The committee, which includes past winners, will present the award to Giago during the 2017 NAJA Membership Luncheon and Business Meeting on Friday, Sept. 8 at the Anaheim Marriott. Giago will be the keynote speaker for the event.

A $5,000 cash prize is also provided as part of the award, which is presented in partnership with the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University located in Evanston, Illinois.

All NAJA award events are produced in coordination with the Excellence in Journalism (EIJ17) conference in Anaheim, Calif., Sept. 7-10. Luncheon tickets are free for NAJA members attending EIJ17 and $50 for non-members. They may be reserved or purchased online at

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Contact Information

Bryan Pollard

NAJA President

[email protected]