Department of the Interior

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell is being recognized for his distinguished career as an artist, educator, and legislator. Senator Campbell's career as an artist followed the time-honored tradition of learning his craft from his father. As he developed as a jeweler, he incorporated his own experience into a personal style that not only set him apart as an artist, but also influenced a whole generation of jewelers. When Senator Campbell entered public life, he added legal safeguards for artisans and crafters through truth-in-advertising regulations administered by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board.

Senator Campbell was born in Auburn, California on April 13, 1933. His mother, Mary Vierra, was a Portuguese immigrant, and his father, Albert Campbell, was a Northern Cheyenne Indian. Campbell is the only American Indian presently serving in the United States Senate, and is one of 44 Chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

He received a bachelor of arts degree in physical education and fine arts from San Jose University in 1957 and later attended Meiji University in Tokyo in 1960 as a special research student. Before entering college, Campbell served in the U.S. Air force from 1951-53, stationed in Korea, where he attained the rank of Airman 2nd Class.

Campbell is a renowned jewelry designer, athlete, and trainer of champion quarter horses. He participated in the 1964 Olympic Games as a member of the U.S. Olympic Judo Team, and has been a judo instructor. He was elected to the Colorado State Legislature in 1982, serving for four years.

Campbell has been married to the former Linda Price for more than 35 years. He is the father of two grown children, Colin Campbell and Shanan Longfellow. He is a proud grandfather to Luke and Saylor Longfellow and Lauren Campbell. He and his family enjoy many activities together, including riding motorcycles.


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