2008 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient and 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 available 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, has developed his natural talents into a rewarding career as a renowned jewelry designer.
Sen. Campbell received his award at a ceremony at the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. on October 11 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.
This was not the only accolade the Senator received that month; 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. 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.
NECO applauds our dear friend for his much deserved awards and we wish him further success with his beautiful jewelry and artwork.