The man on the phone said simply, “We want you to help our tribe start a weekly newspaper.”
The man on the line was Richard J. “Jiggers” LaFramboise, then chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the year was 1992.
I flew up to the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota not too long after that call and met with Jiggers and his staff. We discussed the ways and means of starting a newspaper, set a price and got down to the business of starting a newspaper in Belcourt, the main community on the reservation.
Turtle Mountain is in the Northeastern part of North Dakota right on the Canadian border. In fact you can cross into Canada from Turtle Mountain.
Back in the old days when the French Canadians and the Metis played an important role on many of the Northern Indian reservations, one of their favorite things was a fiddle and a dance known as the jig. In his youth Richard LaFramboise was quite handy at doing the jig, and hence the nickname “Jiggers.”
Well, Jiggers had his mind set on economic development. He secured a contract with the federal government using a closed military plant to construct trailers. The contract brought 200 new jobs to Turtle Mountain where the unemployment rate hovered at 50 percent. With money left over from the block grant, he built the Heritage Center. He also built the community bowling alley and added new businesses to the tribal mall. Jiggers brought the tribe’s gross income from $23 million in 1992 to $200 million in 1994.
The tribe’s schools, community college and the reservations roads and highways all saw considerable improvements during Jiggers’ terms in office. But in 1992 he wanted to improve communications on the reservation. He already had a radio station, KEYA-FM, but now Jiggers wanted a newspaper because he was a firm believer in the power of the press.
I told him that he had to choose a strong editor because knowing tribal politics as both of us did, the time would come when politicians would find a reason to interfere with the freedom of the press. Jiggers chose Robin Poitra Powell as his editor and then he picked Shirley Belgarde and Logan Davis as staff members.
The training took several weeks. Powell, Belgarde and Davis flew down to Rapid City and started working daily at Indian Country Today, the paper I owned back then. Powell dug into the editorial side of the paper working diligently with our writers, proof readers and editors. Davis worked with my then sales manager Lynette Two Bulls and the advertising sales staff, and Belgarde worked every day with Christy Tibbetts and the bookkeeping and office crew. We figured we would then have an editor to put out the newspaper every week, a sales manager to bring advertising dollars to the paper, and an office manager to handle all of the accounts payable and receivable. That would give the paper a strong nucleus.
Our next step was to find a location at Turtle Mountain and to purchase the equipment necessary for a start-up. I talked Rick Musser, a professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, to join our efforts. Musser and I, plus several of our staff members, drove up to Turtle Mountain to complete this next step. The Tribe offered one of the newly constructed homes to house the new venture and we got on the phone to order desks, file cabinets, chairs and, of course, computers. Musser worked with the team that had just returned from Rapid City in organizing the office and staff and to prepare for the first issue of the paper that would be named The Turtle Mountain Times.
After all of the phones and other electronic equipment was in place, the Turtle Mountain Times hit the streets in June of 1993. Next year the newspaper will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and of all of the employees who trained in those beginning days, Shirley Belgarde is still working at the paper. Others have moved on, but the newspaper is still hitting the streets every Wednesday.
Belgarde said, “We still have to survive every new administration change and each time this happens we are often threatened with having our funding reduced or cut altogether, but that’s tribal politics and we are about to face another administration change.”
I know how that goes because after “Jiggers” left office the new administration decided that the debt he incurred in starting the Turtle Mountain Times was no longer relevant, and my company was left holding the bag. It was a lesson learned and life goes on as does the newspaper that we got off of the ground.
I am still very proud of the Turtle Mountain Times because it survived for nearly 20 years in the face of economic downturns and the ever-changing tribal administrations. “Jiggers” had a dream and that dream became a reality. To Shirley Belgarde and those early newspaper pioneers, I say congratulations, good luck, and keep the presses rolling.
Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, is President of Unity South Dakota. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard with the Class of 1990. His weekly column won the H. L. Mencken Award in 1985. He was the founder of The Lakota Times, Indian Country Today, Lakota Journal and Native Sun News. He can be reached at UnitySoDak1@knology.net
4/9/2013 07:55:38 pm
It is very important to keep our tradition. Because it is our legacy and everyone should respect that. Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center is an example for an organization that helps in maintaining and keeping the olden heritage. Thank you for the postings regarding your work.
3/30/2014 07:00:22 pm
.I am talking about replica Rolex watches in accurate and replica watches in general.These are moderately priced and for absolutely a few of us,could become our admission to the apple of appearance and fashion.
7/8/2014 05:35:08 pm
Very good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need.
2/9/2015 02:13:41 pm
Absorption very post . It absolutely beneficial .
2/9/2015 02:13:54 pm
Of all blogs that accept arrested the above topics , I , is enlightening in practice this .
2/9/2015 02:14:09 pm
I was anxious to arrest the affection such as UPS Advisory address from the actual duration .
12/29/2015 04:41:50 am
Since on-line gambling in some countries is illegal, you should definitely once informed, as the legal situation in your country looks, before you even begin stakes or bets to place.
12/29/2015 04:42:21 am
Online casinos all over the world giving you the opportunity to play real money games from anywhere in the world.
12/29/2015 04:42:56 am
Many online casino players think that the entire online casino industry consists exclusively of “hardcore” games like poker and blackjack
12/29/2015 04:43:28 am
There are many games which might be now online and you may possess the choice on these games.
12/29/2015 04:43:57 am
If online poker’s your thing, then check out the great choice of poker and video poker that’s available on Poker IA – the UK’s number one gaming site.
12/29/2015 04:44:28 am
The internet is packed with full of entertainment and games by wonderful categories that are combined with many affordable features.
12/29/2015 04:44:59 am
Titan Casino – a vivid example of a great gaming service, which is pleasant to spend free time and win big money.
12/29/2015 04:45:30 am
Gambling can be defined as the practice of playing by taking chances in the hope of winning.
12/29/2015 04:46:03 am
There are various activities which can be played on the net but alongside gambling too if you truly want to perform the game.
12/29/2015 04:51:47 am
You will see that we now have many individuals which can be the fans of the slot machines, should you can logon towards the web then
12/29/2015 04:52:30 am
It’s likely you have performed an extensive range of online slots and continually appreciate attempting around together with perhaps getting some good-spending free portions and on the other hand
12/29/2015 04:54:00 am
If you select the research then you certainly can come to know that the slots activities originated from Europe and these activities are now actually not unpopular all around the earth
12/29/2015 04:54:43 am
There are various engaging games we could avail from the web.
12/29/2015 04:55:55 am
This sport is quite popular amongst the youth and youngsters and may be performed online.
12/29/2015 04:56:32 am
Celebrated Novomatic produced SkyBet advantage offers game.
12/29/2015 04:57:13 am
The playing of the online slot games is more interesting and the fun to the players when compared to the other parts of the games in the online casino types.
12/29/2015 04:58:01 am
SkyBet bonus presents are hardly unpopular in addition to its suspicious turns and mystical recreation produce the game very enjoyable.
12/29/2015 04:58:32 am
Reward presents that are SkyBet can be an extremely popular game related to casino games.
12/29/2015 04:59:35 am
SkyBet reward presents kostenols is quite renowned game that is highly popular one of the casino and youth fans
12/29/2015 05:00:13 am
There are many online games emerged with unique designs and differing playing method these are extremely exciting when compared with additional type of activities.
12/29/2015 05:00:50 am
The introduction of the web brought forth several fascinating and fresh items
12/29/2015 05:01:28 am
At the point when the seasons change, our games change. Our bodies, our apparatus, and our activity molding ought to change, as well.
12/29/2015 05:02:14 am
From studying every feasible guide on a single and viewing every bout of high-stakes poker to viewing poker games about the TV.
12/29/2015 05:02:55 am
Something that stops several poker lovers from really enjoying with the overall game well is their insufficient sport understanding that is official.
12/29/2015 05:03:55 am
Roulette is a kind of casino game, which reflects the essence of French. There are two main types of roulette online such as American and European roulette.
12/29/2015 05:04:51 am
The play bonus offers is a casino hobby that is really famous in addition to largely performed which is since it delivers excitement together with more thrill for the people that love this sport
12/29/2015 05:05:22 am
If you’re thinking about playing with the overall game that’s pleasurable, exciting full of enthusiasm and challenging you then need to try the overall game that’s genuinely wonderful to enjoy
12/29/2015 05:05:53 am
There is some time when individuals used-to go to the casino exclusively to possess large amount of activity and excitement.
12/29/2015 05:07:31 am
It is the web wherever persons utilize this for their amusement like seeing films.
12/29/2015 05:09:26 am
Playing poker online is truly enjoyable that someone can very quickly end up enjoying all night in a stretch within the poker stand without recognizing that
12/29/2015 05:09:51 am
An Online Live roulette game is a more captivating as the real game.
12/29/2015 05:10:18 am
There are various games which are currently on the web and you will have the gamble on those games.
12/29/2015 05:11:45 am
You’ll find individuals who nevertheless dream because these sites would be the places where you are able to have many more enjoyment and leisure of planning to the casinos.
12/29/2015 05:12:08 am
There are numerous activities that may be played on the net but when you actually need to enjoy the overall game that is quite definitely exciting and has most of the enjoyment.
12/29/2015 05:12:35 am
Golden Casino is an online casino operated by Vegas Technology, a privately-owned betting house application company.
12/29/2015 05:13:09 am
In case you will logon towards the web then you definitely will see that there are lots of people which are the slot machines’ supporters
12/29/2015 05:13:35 am
Playing with games online on the net is becoming like celebration and you’ll see that there are tens of thousands of individuals who are playing games online, each day
12/29/2015 05:14:01 am
Sports betting is as simple as it sounds – betting on sports to receive an outcome. Many are involved in this activity in the United States, as well as across the world.
12/29/2015 05:14:33 am
Everybody knows that we now have too many games online and folks are getting involved in them with large amount of excitement.
12/29/2015 05:15:24 am
If you discuss the games whether it on the ground or on the net then its undeniable fact that there will be a competition.
12/29/2015 05:15:56 am
Should you be winning contests online then it’s an advance action of computer technology that permits game lovers to access and play on web from your home
Leave a Reply.
Content is provided by Kade M. Ferris M.S. Kade has a B.A. in anthropology and history from University of North Dakota, and a M.S. degree in anthropology from North Dakota State University. Kade serves as the Historical Society board Vice President and is a professional historian and anthropologist with over 18 years of experience. He serves as the THPO and Director of Natural Resources for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, and is the Vice President of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Historical Society Board.