The British Statesman Benjamin Disraeli once said during a heated debate, “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”
A recent blog against me may not have contained too many statistics, but what it lacked in statistics it made up with unabashed lies and damned lies.
Some of the outright lies by a wannabe named James Swan include, “Tim’s mother was Indian, but his father was white.” That lie is so easy to check out that to even say such a thing shows a total lack of honesty.
The records at the Enrollment Office in Pine Ridge list my father as one-half Lakota. His other half was Pueblo Indian which makes him 100 percent Indian. In the Giago household at Three-Mile-Creek north of Kyle the first and only language spoken in my Grandmother’s home was Lakota.
Why anyone would print such garbage without even bothering to call me to verify its veracity is beyond me.
Swan is having conniptions because I said I wanted to raise the money to buy Wounded Knee from the white man James Czywczynski who now owns the land. His obsession has caused him to heap one lie upon another.
Let me set the facts straight. When I raise the money I will buy the land and it will then be put into trust for the Indian people. Attorney Mario Gonzalez will be working with several Lakota elders from Pine Ridge and they will form a committee or organization that will allow them to bring the Minneconjou and Hunkpapa descendants of the Massacre at Wounded Knee on board and as an organization they will in turn decide what to do with the land once it is theirs.
Any Lakota who knows his or her history understands that most of those massacred at Wounded Knee were from Cheyenne River and Standing Rock. They fled to Pine Ridge after the murder of Sitting Bull seeking the protection of Red Cloud. Only 8 Oglala died at Wounded Knee and they happened to be there to visit their relatives.
I suggested at one time that a cultural museum be constructed there to honor all of those Indian massacred across America. But a suggestion is certainly not a fact. As I said, only those Lakota who hold the land in trust will make that decision. I choose not to mention their names here in order to protect them from people like Swan and others who jump to conclusions without knowing all of the facts.
The blog I mentioned here was filled with racial hatred toward Iyeska (mixed bloods) and Mexicans. A portion of my blood is Pueblo and I am proud of it. The Pueblo warriors rose up against their Spaniard oppressors in 1860 and drove them from their homelands all of the way to Mexico. To have the blood of these proud warriors plus that of Lakota warriors is a double blessing to me and my family.
The blog states that only full bloods are Indians and all mixed bloods are not. It is particularly harsh on Mexicans. Perhaps those so-called “hereditary chiefs” in the article failed to realize that the Mexicans did not come over on the Mayflower, but instead are indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. Incidentally, there are no hereditary chiefs among the Lakota. In order to be a chief you had to earn the right and not have it handed down like an inherited crown.
A friend tried to cheer me up the other day by saying, “You are trying to do something good so what is wrong with that?” When I decided to pursue this goal I knew there would be dissenters and that is fine. It is good to have honest and open dialogue, but any disagreement should not turn into name calling, finger pointing and outright lies intended to discredit me or Mario Gonzalez, an Oglala attorney who was asked by the Lakota elders to assist them in taking the Wounded Knee land into trust for them.
I wanted to post the entire blog alongside of this column, but it was over 7,000 words and would have filled two pages and so I am quoting some of the more harsh excerpts from it and dispelling some of the outright lies and inaccuracies in it.
And by the way, the author of the piece never called me or Gonzalez and that is not balanced reporting. I thank the Lakota questioned in the article for understanding what I was trying to do and offering their support. When Gonzalez was told some of the bad things Swan was saying about him he said, “Who is this guy? I never met him and of course I don’t even know him.”
If Swan and some of the others in the article disagree with me that is fine, but please try to do it without racist insults and outright lies. The lies are too easy to disprove and anybody that has been following my writing for the past 40 years knows me and they know I have always been very open about my past and my heritage.
Just remember what Benjamin Disraeli said about lies, damned lies and statistics.
(Tim Giago was born, raised and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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