Durango, CO – Sorrel Sky Gallery Artist Former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell has been honored by Emperor Akihito of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun, the second highest honor given to a non Japanese citizen. Campbell, having served the state of Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 1993-2005 and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987-1993 and renowned jewelry designer, received the award at a ceremony at the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. on October 11.
Japan's ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki presented the prestigious award to Sen. Campbell in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States through the sport of judo, his use of Japanese techniques in the design and creating of his Native American jewelry, and his work in the U.S. Congress. Campbell was captain of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Judo Team and trained 4 years in Japan at Meiji University, while attending classes as a special research student.
The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875, and the custom of awarding foreigners for their service began in 1981. Previous recipients include such notable Americans as General Douglas McArthur, former Senator and Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield, former Speaker of the House and Ambassador to Japan Tom Foley, former Secretary of State George Schultz, General George Casey, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Senator Daniel Inouye, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and actor Clint Eastwood. Ben Nighthorse Campbell is one of 44 chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
On October 1, Ben Nighthorse Campbell was the recipient of the Spirit of the West Award at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California. The Spirit of the West Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the art, culture, and legacy of our American west. Embodying the spirit of the West, Senator Campbell has represented the United States not only in the House of Representatives and the Senate, but also as a soldier, an Olympic athlete, and a supporter of Native American rights across the country. One of only eight Native Americans to ever be elected to the Senate, Senator Campbell has lobbied for physical education in schools and helped establish the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He is also a respected Native American jewelry designer whose innovative designs have won him numerous awards. He received this award at the 24th annual Gala along with Grammy Award-winning musician, Roy Clark.