Posts Tagged ‘Assiniboine Sioux’

We in the news business are being deluged these days by reports of the imminent death of “paper” newspapers and the concurrent rush go digital in every format possible.

In the midst of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth is the Native Sun News in Rapid City, S.D., which debuted a year and a half ago as a defiantly paper newspaper and has stayed that way ever since. As publisher Tim Giago wrote about that decision:


    You won’t find us on the Internet. So many of my Indian readers do not have computers or do not even have access to them. Native Sun News will go back to the traditional way of providing news for Indian country. The paper will have serious news, but we will never abandon that Indian sense of humor that so many non-Indians accuse us of not having. You will be able to hold our newspaper in your hands, sip on a hot cup of coffee, and read the news you used to love to read in The Lakota Times and Indian Country Today.

The paper is especially tough on cases of alleged corruption.

Native Sun News is often the only news outlet to publicize cases like the one involving Donita King, whose story was featured in the July 21 issue. King, an enrolled member of the Assiniboine Sioux on the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana, says that she and her family have been fighting for years for the money due from her oil-rich allotments.

People are widely familiar with the issue of Native Americans being cheated out of royalties on their land allotments, thanks to the massive Cobell v. Salazar class-action suit against the Interior Department.

But as King tells Native Sun News managing editor Randall Howell, it’s not the U.S. government, but tribal officials, who have been cheating her family. King, who is legally blind, says the money due her family has instead been directed to fake accounts set up by powerful people in the tribe.

As Howell reports, “What started out as a ‘simple probate search’ more than two decades ago, after King’s father had died, has resulted in nearly 50 grand-jury indictments over allotment fraud.”

King, who is a descendant of Hunkpapa Sioux Chief Sitting Bull and who says the long fight has resulted in death threats to her and her family, calls the whole mess a “path of shame.”

And the only place you can read about it is the Native Sun News “The only Indian newspaper that cowboys can read, too!”). You can look at a reproduction of each week’s front page and read a column by Giago online every week at And, even though reading the entire newspaper defiantly remains a tactile experience, you can follow Native Sun News, and discussions about its stories, on both Facebook and Twitter.

Gwen Florio

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Tetona Dunlap is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Montana. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Tetona Dunlap

Tetona Dunlap

If well-behaved women seldom make history, this explains why two influential women who passed away this past week will never be forgotten.

On April 6, Wilma Mankiller died after battling pancreatic cancer. Three days later Minnie Two Shoes died after her own struggle with cancer. I had the chance to meet both of these inspiring Native American women through journalism.

Mankiller came to speak to my class when I participated in the American Indian Journalism Institute in South Dakota in 2003. Mankiller was the first woman to serve the Cherokee people as principal chief. She was an advocate for Native American and women’s rights. She has also written two books. One is an autobiography titled, “Mankiller: A Chief and Her People” and “Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women.” As a result of her activism, she was received several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. She was also inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in New York City in 1994.

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Clover Anaquod was shopping for Halloween with her son this week when he gasped and pointed to a display.

Headdresses. Tomahawks. Peace pipes.

Anaquod, who is Assiniboine Sioux from the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana, tells the Missoulian that she was taken aback.

“Native American regalia is not a costume,” said Anaquod. “I took it personal.”

As for 10-year-old Matthew, “he was shocked. It hurt his feelings to see these.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai elder Tony Incashola says Indian costumes on Halloween make people view Native Americans “more as a display than humans.”

On the plus side, said Incashola, it seems as though fewer people these days tend to sashay out on Halloween in feathers and paint.

“They feel it’s time to move on, that those days are gone,” he said. “Gradually, more and more people are starting to understand the feeling.”

Gwen Florio

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