The Storied Life of Ben Nighthorse


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There aren't many 90-year-old award-winning jewelers who were also a ...

U.S. Senator • Air Force Veteran • Judo Champion • Tribal Leader • Horse Breeder • Mounted Police Officer • Industrial Arts Teacher • Olympic Athlete • Biker • Veteran’s Advocate • Colorado Rancher • Truck Driver • Indian Rights Advocate • College Instructor • Private Pilot • Law Officers Advocate • Martial Arts Instructor

We often talk about the award-winning jewelry of Ben Nighthorse Campbell. But his storied life includes so much more. Jack Turner of Durango Native Stories, recently interviewed Ben Nighthorse and his wife, Linda, at their ranch near Durango, Colorado. Their daughter, Shanan Campbell (owner of Sorrel Sky Gallery) joined the interview. We hope you enjoy hearing Nighthorse talk about his early years, his time in the Air Force, his time on the Olympic Judo team, how Linda entered his world, his 20-plus-year career in politics, and how jewelry has been a constant throughout his lifetime.

Durango Native Stories: Ben Nighthorse

“I was teaching at La Sierra High School … Ben had just gotten back from the Olympic Games and he wanted to bring Judo into the public schools … I was a PE teacher and that’s how we met.” — Linda Campbell

Linda and Ben Nighthorse Campbell

Nighthorse was also featured in the Rocky Mountain PBS series: Colorado Experience and we thought we'd share that as well!

Colorado Experience: Ben Nighthorse

"There’s an Indian belief about creativity: If you have a gift, no matter if you are a potter, painter, or sculptor, that’s only part of the deal. You’re supposed to develop it and share it. Almost all Indian people believe that design is not yours. The Creator decides who gets that design, so give credit where it’s due."

— Ben Nighthorse

Ben Nighthorse at Sorrel Sky Gallery

Reach out to our team of art advisors with any questions about the works seen in this blog. We'd love to see you in the gallery, where you can enjoy the stunning jewelry of Ben Nighthorse in person.