SIOUX FALLS, S.D., DEC. 29 -- The Sioux publisher of the Lakota Times said today he has returned the H.L. Mencken Writing Award he won in 1985 because of racist and sexist remarks in Mencken's recently published diaries. "I feel very strongly that everything that I have fought for in the last 20 years to try and improve race relations. . . . It just wouldn't wash if I . . . kept an award from a person that has attitudes that are so bigoted," said Tim Giago, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe. Giago said he also will return the $2,500 prize that came with the award. He writes a syndicated column on Indian issues. Mencken, the columnist for the Baltimore Sun, wrote his diaries between 1930 and 1948. In one entry, he wrote: "It is impossible to talk anything resembling discretion or judgment to a colored woman. They are all essentially child-like and even hard experience does not teach them anything." A spokesman for the Baltimore Sun said today that neither publisher Reg Murphy nor other senior managers were available for comment. Murphy wrote in Editor and Publisher recently that he considered ending the awards because of the diaries but decided against it. "You don't throw away all of the wonderful work of a man like Mencken that was in the public domain because of the private venom," he wrote.