A TRIBUTE TO CHIEF NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL!
Submitted by Ken Hughes
Throughout every generation a few good men stand out. They come in all forms, some are white, some are black, some are yellow, some are brown and some are even red. Today I speak of a Red man - Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Republican Senator from the state of Colorado, Member Chief of the Northern Cheyenne Nation. I believe he is the first Native American in the Senate.
There are those who disagree. Former Senator Robert L. Owen couldn’t have been more than one eighth Indian yet he claims a connection. He served as an Indian Agent and later as an Attorney for the Choctaw Nation. No doubt he served the Indian well, however it is said by some Tribes one should not claim an ancestor unless you know the names they took and the trails they rode.
Charles Curtis former Senator and Former Vice President of the United States claims to be one sixteenth Cherokee. Either the Cherokee women were very loose or the Cherokee men were irresistible to White women. Thousands of whites claim to be one sixteenth Cherokee. Maybe it’s just the White man’s fantasy. I still go with Chief Nighthorse, he’s one half Northern Cheyenne and one half Portuguese.
Senator Campbell worked very hard serving the interests of the Indians. Yet he never let his heritage get in the way of serving all Americans. Senator Campbell was a riddle in Washington circles. He rode his motorcycle to White house functions. He wore a pony tail celebrating his Indian roots. He could argue Liberal as well as Conservative politics. Senator Campbell was respected on both sides of the aisles of Congress.
To champion the accomplishments of Senator Campbell would take more space than I am allowed in this column. Senator Campbell was educated and he was an educator. He was a Veteran of the Korean War and the Congressional Wars, performing heroically in both.
One of the Senators proudest accomplishment was his assistance in the creation of “Sand Creek Memorial Site” and “ Black Canyon and Gunnison National Parks” Both tributes to Native American history.
Senator Campbell has opted not to run for reelection. He will be sorely missed. This will be a great loss to Native Americans, who will speak for them now?
MEET SENATOR CAMPBELL -
The only American Indian presently serving in the United States Senate and one of the 44 chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
Senator Campbell received a B.A. 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, where he attained the rank of Airman 2nd Class.
Campbell is a renowned jewelry designer, and trainer of champion quarter horses. He participated in the 1964 Olympics as a member of the U.S. Olympic Judo Team, and has been a judo instructor.
Senator Campbell and his wife, Linda, have been married for more than 35 years. They are the parents of Colin Campbell and Shanan Longfellow and have three grandchildren., Luke and Saylor Longfellow and Lauren Campbell.
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