Topic: Ben Nighthorse Campbell

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Benjamin Nighthorse Campbell (born April 13, 1933) is an American politician. He was a U.S. Senator from Colorado from 1993 until 2005 and was for some time the only Native American serving in the U.S. Congress. Campbell was a three term U.S. Representative from 1987 to 1993, when he was sworn into office as a Senator following his election on November 3, 1992. He was only the 3rd Native American to serve in the U.S. Congress in history. He was the second Native American (after Dr. Ben Reifel, Lakota, R-South Dakota) to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was also the second Native American (after Charles Curtis, Kaw, R-Kansas) to serve in the U.S. Senate. Campbell also serves as one of forty-four members of the Council of Chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribe.

Originally a member of the Democratic Party, Campbell switched to the Republican Party on March 3, 1995. Reelected in 1998, Campbell announced in March 2004 that he would not run for reelection to a third term in November of that year. He expressed interest in running for Governor of Colorado in 2006. However, on January 4, 2006, he announced that he would not enter the race. His Senate seat was won by Democrat Ken Salazar in the November 2004 election.

Campbell was born in Auburn, California. His mother, Mary Vierra (Vieira), was a Portuguese immigrant who had come with her mother to the U.S. at age six through Ellis Island, (according to Campbell, his maternal grandfather had entered the United States some time before.) There Vierra's family settled in the large Portuguese community near Sacramento. When Vierra contracted tuberculosis in her youth, she was forced to convalesce at a nearby hospital, often for months at a time during treatment. It was there that she met an American Indian patient Albert Campbell, who was at the hospital for alcoholism treatment. Albert Campbell was of predominantly Northern Cheyenne descent, but according to Nighthorse Campbell biographer, Herman Viola, Albert Campbell spent much of his youth in Crow Agency boarding school and may have had some Pueblo Indian and Apache Indian blood in his background as well. The couple married in 1929, and Ben Nighthorse Campbell was born in 1933.

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