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Scott McKie: Charles Curtis was the first Indian vice president

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: charles curtis, dc, kansas, kaw, scott mckie

Charles Curtis, the 31st vice president of the United States.

Charles Curtis was the first -- and so far, the only -- American Indian to serve as vice president of the United States:
The United States of America has never had an American Indian president, but a little known fact is that it has had an American Indian vice-president. Charles Curtis, an enrolled member of the Kaw Tribe, was the 31st Vice President and served under President Herbert Hoover.

Curtis was born on Jan. 25, 1860 in Topeka, Kan. to Oren Arms Curtis, a Civil War veteran, and Ellen (Pappan) Curtis who was Kaw, Osage, Potawatomi and French and a descendant of Kaw Chief White Plume and Osage Chief Pawhuska.

Curtis was tri-lingual speaking English, French and Kaw.

He had a long political career beginning with a stint in the U.S. House of Representatives serving the Kansas 4th District from 1893-99 and the Kansas 1st District from 1899-1907. Curtis then served as a U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1907-13 and again from 1915-29.

During his career, he served on numerous committees and authored many pieces of legislation.

He was a staunch believer in laws and was quoted as saying, “If you don’t want the laws enforced, then don’t vote for me.”

Get the Story:
Charles Curtis: America’s Indian Vice President (The Cherokee One Feather 2/5)

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