Colorado's U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell was born in Auburn, California, April 13, 1933. His parents were Mary Vierra, a Portuguese immigrant, and Albert Campbell, a Northern Cheyenne Indian. Campbell is the only American Indian presently serving in either the House of Representatives or the United States Senate. He received a bachelors degree in physical education and fine arts from San Jose State 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 in 1951-53, stationed in Korea, attaining the rank of Airman 2nd Class. Campbell is a self-employed jewelry designer, rancher, and was a trainer of champion quarter horses. He was elected to the Colorado State Legislature in 1982 where he served for four years. Campbell is married to the former Linda Price, and is the father of two grown children: Colin and Shanan.
Elected to the U.S. Senate November 3, 1992, the first American Indian to serve in the Senate in more than 60 years.
Belongs to four key Senate committees: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Energy and Natural Resources; where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Parks, Historic Preservation and Recreation, and as a member of the Subcommittee on Forests and Public Lands Management. Other committees Campbell serves on are the Indian Affairs and Veterans Affairs committees.
Served 1987-92 in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Colorado's Third District. Served on the House Committees on Agriculture and Interior and Insular Affairs.
A leader in public lands and natural resources policy, recognized for the passage of landmark legislation to settle Indian water rights, and in the forefront of sponsoring and fighting for legislation to protect Colorado wilderness and water rights.
In 1991, won fight to change name of the Custer Battlefield Monument in Montana to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument -- legislation that honors American Indians who died in battle.
Initiated and passed legislation to establish the National Museum of the American Indian within the Smithsonian Institution.
A leader in developing preventive treatment programs to battle Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
In 1992, wrote Reflections on the Columbus Quincentenary (1492-1992).
In 1995, appointed to the Helsinki Commission.
Inducted into Council of 44 Chiefs, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Lame Deer, Montana.
All-American in Judo; three-time U.S. Judo champion; captained the U.S. Olympic Judo Team at Tokyo Games in 1964; Gold-medal winner in Pan-American Games of 1963; coached the U.S. International Team.
Selected by Newsweek magazine as one of 20 "people to watch" for policy and future of the American West.
Voted one of Ten Best Legislators in 1986 by colleagues for the Denver Post and News Center 4 survey.
Recipient of more than 200 first-place and best-of-show awards for jewelry design.