After his passing on June 9, the National Indian Gaming Association took a moment to remember the life of Charles Colombe. (Related story: “Former Rosebud President Charles Colombe Walks On”)
The full statement from Ernest J. Stevens Jr., NIGA chairman, is below:
The National Indian Gaming Association would like to acknowledge the passing of former Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Charles C. Colombe. President Colombe passed on to the Spirit World on Sunday, June 9, 2013. We mourn his passing, celebrate his life, and thank him for his service.
Charles was a good man, with a friendly smile and a warm handshake. From NIGA Treasurer from 2004 to 2006. At NIGA, his daughter Syd, has been a longtime tradeshow consultant. He left this world the way he lived his life, close to his family, his ranch and the land.
As a young man, Charles was a great cowboy, riding broncs in rodeos across the country. He met Vy at a rodeo, where she was a barrel racer. He passed his rodeo skills down to his family. He gifted many of his paint horses to honor fellow tribal leaders and members of the community.
His great grandfather was Chief Red War Bonnet, a famous Lakota chief. In the 1970s, he served several terms as tribal councilman at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. In 1979, Colombe worked for South Dakota Legal Services co-directing the 2,415 claims process for the Aberdeen Area. While on his tribal council, he was involved with land consolidation process using Farmers Home Administration Funds to buy land for the tribe. While contracting, his office in Albuquerque, N.M. also performed title examination for 11 of the 19 pueblos. He accomplished this all while owning a general construction company and being a successful rancher. (Related story: “President Charles Colombe; Businessman, Tribal Leader, Cowboy”)
In 1993, Colombe returned to Rosebud to help establish the Rosebud Casino. President Colombe spoke to Congress in April of 2005 on the regulation of Indian gaming and provided his testimony along with others with our association that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was working, and working well, for Indian country.
He had a philosophy of service to the community. From 2003 to 2005, Charlie served as president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He believed in tribal traditions, and when a tribal leader achieved a significant victory, President Colombe would bestow an eagle feather upon him or her to acknowledge the good work.
We will never forget Charlie’s strong support for Indian sovereignty, his friendly hello, and his progressive leadership. President Colombe was a cowboy for life, and we thank him for taking his people on a journey of ideas, growth, all lead by a huge heart. Charlie, above all, was our friend. We will miss him.
- Ernest L. Stevens Jr., chairman, National Indian Gaming Association