Campbell, Ben Nighthorse

  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
You may use the stars on the left to rate and leave feedback for the current article. No registration is required. Waiting for 5 votes 0.0 of 5 stars (0 votes) — Thanks for your vote

Please fill out the following optional information before submitting your rating:


Native American politician, sportsman, and artist

Campbell is part Portuguese, Northern Cheyenne (and has been inducted into their council of chiefs) and possibly also Apache and Pueblo, a rancher and horse trainer, jewellery designer, judo champion and politician.

His birth mother was Portuguese and his birth father Native American, of several tribes, including Northern Cheyenne.

He has been US judo champion three times, won the Pan-American Games gold medal for judo in 1963 and captained the US judo team at the 1964 Olympics; he has also written a judo training manual. He entered the Colorado state legislature in 1982, the US House of Representatives in 1987 and the US Senate in 1992; he is the only Native American currently (1998) in Congress.

His adoption or fostered status is unsure. He appears on several lists of famous adoptees, but other sources do not confirm this. Vance Opperman said on 14 April 1997, (reported in "The senator speaks personally and very movingly of his experience with his foster family and credits them with much, if not all, of his success." Another source,, states: "Campbell ... was raised in a Catholic orphanage." The article in Current Biography Yearbook states that his mother had TB and his father was an alcoholic, and the strain of working and raising the family was too much for her. She placed the children (Ben and his older sister) in an orphanage in Sacramento in 1939. During the 1940s she reclaimed them. His own official biography for the US Senate does not mention anything relevant about his childhood.

The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse lists him as an adoptive parent, but I have not found any independent confirmation of this.


Who's Who in America, 1996
Who's Who in American Politics, 1997-1998. (New Providence: Marquis Who's Who, 1997)
Current Biography Yearbook, 1994
Viola, Herman J. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, an American Warrior. (New York: Orion, 1993)
"Biography: Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado." [Includes portrait]. Available at:
"Ben Nighthorse Campbell - US Senator - Colorado." [Includes portrait], Available at:


Native American and Alaskan Native, Inuit
20th Century
21st Century
Art, Architecture, Planning
Government, Politics, Civil Service, Public Administration
Rulers, Nobles, Chiefs, Presidents, Prime Ministers
Figures Whose Adoption or Fostering Is Fictitious, Disputed or Unconfirmed
School-age Years, Adolescence
Parental Illness (Mental or Physical), Addiction
Birth Parent(s) Relinquished Child
Temporary Care
Institutional Care
Parent(s) Died, Disappeared or Became Incapacitated
Birth Siblings Placed Together
Visitor Comments (0) - Be the first to comment
Adding your comments contributes to the adoption community. Please keep all comments on topic and civil. Visitors are invited to comment and vote for or flag comments based on appropriateness and helpfulness. All comments must adhere to our commenting rules and are subject to moderation.

To see local Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):

Need a Home Study?
Adoption Photolisting
Antonio (TX / 10 / M)
Antonio enjoys playing with toy dinosaurs in his spare time. He also enjoys drawing and coloring. Antonio likes participating in outings within the community with his... [more]
Parent Profiles
We are Chase, Michelle, & Adeline, our story is unique but full of so much love. We run a family business and stay busy with our energetic 4 year old! We can't wait to get to... [more]
Directory of Adoption Professionals
Find a professional
for all of your adoption needs including:

Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of

Settings Help Feedback
Template Settings
Width: 1024     1280
Choose a Location:
Choose a Theme: