Charles Trimble, an Oglala Lakota journalist, a former leader of the National Congress of American Indians and founder of the American Indian Press Association has died at the age of 84.
Trimble passed away due to natural causes Monday in Omaha, Nebraska, his daughter, Kaiti Fenz-Trimble, announced on Facebook.
Trimble founded the American Indian Press Association in the 1970s, citing a lack of coverage of Native American issues. He was then elected executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, an organization established to protect tribes’ sovereign rights.
“I was fortunate to have served through the decade most prolific in the enactment of legislation for new policy, programs, and resources, as well as executive actions favorable to Indian tribes and off-reservation Indian communities,” Trimble wrote in an address for the group’s 2009 convention. “These included the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, the Indian Financing Act, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and unprecedented return of significant lands to tribes.”
He also helped start a newspaper on the Colville Reservation in Washington state to inform people about the implication of termination, the federal government’s effort from the 1940s to the 1960s to disband tribes.
“His passing has left a big hole in the field of Native American journalism,” fellow Oglala Lakota journalist and publisher Tim Giago wrote in the Rapid City Journal.
In addition to his daughter and her husband, Trimble is survived by his wife, Anne.
Trimble graduated from the University of South Dakota, served in the U.S. Army and later studied journalism at the University of Colorado.