As Jackie Giago makes her way down Main Street during the Native American Day Parade, there may be a cutout of an important person by her side — her late husband Tim.
Giago will serve as the grand marshal for the Oct. 8 parade celebrating Native American culture. Her role as grand marshal is intended to honor the memory of Tim, who helped found Native American Day along with former Gov. George Mickelson. Tim died July 24 at age 88.
The parade returns after a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. It coincides with the Black Hills Powwow, which also returns for the first time in two years Oct. 7-9.
Giago said she was a little shocked when she found out she was going to be the grand marshal. She said the last time she was in the parade was with Tim.
"The weather was beautiful and we had a convertible," she said. "You couldn't have asked for a better day for a parade."
People are also reading…
She said they would see people they haven't seen in a long time. When COVID came around, they didn't leave the house for about two years, she said.
"The last six months has been sad," she said.
But Giago said she's been keeping busy. She said she just really got back into running the business, Native Sun News, again. She said they had to find a new office while Tim was getting treatment, but the Native Sun News crew jumped in and searched for a new location.
With the loss of her husband, Giago also had other challenges. She said their vehicle was totaled in a car wreck and her cat died.
"It was just a bad six months," she said. "You didn't want to ask. If you said (anything), something was going to happen."
Giago said they've had to delay the publication of Native Sun News and take things in stride, but she says, "What would Tim have done?" and they do it.
"He was a good leader, a very good leader," she said. "We worked well together, we had 25 years of a good life."
Giago said next for her is the powwow, the Lakota Invitational and accepting a national Native American Hall of Fame Award on Tim's behalf in November.
"That's about as long as I'm planning out because I found out that no matter what you do day by day, you make a list, this is what you're gonna do," she said. "If I get one thing done on that list, I'm happy."
The Native American Day Parade, sponsored by the Rural America Initiatives, will be at 8 a.m. Oct. 8 in downtown Rapid City.
— Contact Siandhara Bonnet at email@example.com —