Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 * 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
Ben Nighthorse Campbell, former Republican U.S. Senator from Colorado, will be the keynote speaker at the American Correction Association's 2006 Winter Conference Annual Luncheon. A man who has demonstrated remarkable leadership and determination, Sen. Campbell will inspire Conference attendees striving to reach their career potential.
Born on April 13, 1933 in Auburn, California to Mary Vierra, a Portuguese immigrant, and Albert Campbell, a Northern Cheyenne Indian, Sen. Campbell was first elected to the Senate on November 3, 1992. In 1997, Sen. Campbell became the first Native American to chair the Indian Affairs Committee. During the 106th Congress, he had more freestanding Senate legislation passed into law (12 public laws) than any other member of Congress. In 1998, he was re-elected with 62 percent of the vote. He retired from the U.S. Senate at the end of his second term in January 2005.
Sen. Campbell experienced many family hardships as a child growing up. Like so many Native Americans, Sen. Campbell's father had grown up in a time of shame for anyone with an Indian background and preferred to keep his ties to his roots a secret. He was an alcoholic and would leave home for weeks and months at a time, eventually leaving the family for good. Sen. Campbell's mother, born off the coast of Portugal, suffered with bouts of tuberculosis, which she had contracted when she was six, and was often unable to care for her son, forcing him to spend much of his childhood in orphanages. This difficult childhood produced a spirit in him not unlike his Cheyenne ancestors. As warriors, it has been said that Cheyenne Indians "gave out, but never gave up."
Sen. Campbell's determination and engaging spirit made it a perfect fit for him to enter the political arena, where these components, along with his perseverance, have left a mark on American history. From 1987-1992, prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Sen. Campbell served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Colorado's Third Congressional District. Before that, he served in the Colorado General Assembly (1982-1986). Throughout his public service career he has sponsored legislation targeting issues that addressed Indian health, education and economic needs. He also fought to reduce spending in order to balance the federal budget and lower tax...