Native Sun News: Chuck Trimble to South Dakota Hall of Fame

The following story was written and reported by Christina Rose, Native Sun News Associate Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Cutline: Charles Trimble autographs his book, Iyeska.

Trimble to be inducted into South Dakota Hall of Fame
By Christina Rose
Native Sun News Associate Editor

OMAHA, NE—The South Dakota Hall of Fame will induct Charles “Wobbie” Trimble, Oglala Lakota, a graduate of Holy Rosary Mission boarding school in Pine Ridge, where he was born and raised. All of his old friends from Pine Ridge still call him “Wobbie.”

He was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation at the community of Wanblee.

Trimble is known for his editorial columns where his laid-back style of writing takes on everything from tribal politics to old age. His reaction to being inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame exhibited his unique style, “I am honored. It’s different here in Nebraska, where they select a person every five years, and to be nominated, you have to be dead 30 years.”

Looking back over his life, Trimble noted that being the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians was where he felt he’d made the greatest impact. “I understood what you had to do. I was mentored by a woman named Helen Peterson during the very difficult days early in the organization. All of my mentors there were women and they were the very best.”

Trimble said that Peterson reminded him that the position was not that of a hero, but of one who supports the tribal leaders in Washington, D.C. He remembered, “Helen told me, ‘You are not a spokesman. You will serve the people. Don’t ‘chief it out’, as they used to say.’”

Describing his duties at the NCAI, Trimble said, “I had to keep my eyes open, get that info to the tribes and convene to get consensus on Indian issues. The 1970s was the most prolific time during the Nixon Administration. There was an unprecedented return of the land to the tribes.” Trimble said he looks back at the position and thinks, “I was privileged to be there at that time.”

A 1957 graduate of the University of South Dakota, he joined the U.S. Army, and later studied journalism at the University of Colorado. Trimble will now join the ranks of 23 Native American inductees, including Tim Giago, who was inducted in 1994.

With a nod towards his well-known stormy relationship with Native Sun News Publisher Tim Giago, Trimble said, “I really feel good that this interview is at his behest. This could be the last of our Indian Wars.”

Giago smiled when he heard this comment and said, “I have always admired and respected Wobbie. We were boyhood friends at Holy Rosary. There is an adage in the newspaper business that was a motto of the New York Times and it goes, “All the news that’s fit to print,” and since Trimble is about to be inducted into the SD Hall of Fame, that definitely is news that is fit to print.”

Trimble has been the recipient of many awards including the Pioneer Award from the Nebraskaland Foundation, the University of South Dakota Alumni Achievement Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award Cameron University, an honorary Doctor of Cultural Sciences degree from Creighton University, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Wayne State College, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of South Dakota, and an honorary degree in Lakota Leadership from Oglala Lakota College.

Trimble is retired and lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife, Anne

(Contact Christina Rose at

Copyright permission by Native Sun News

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