He was and is the only Native American to become Vice President, as well as the first person of acknowledged non-European ancestry. He was the first person enrolled in a Native American tribe to be elected to the vice presidency. He decorated his office with Native American artifacts and posed for pictures wearing an Indian headdress.
He was a descendant of chief White Plume of the Kaw Nation and chief Pawhuska of the Osage. The place name "Kansas" was derived from the name of the Kaw (or Kansa) tribe.
His mother was of Kaw, Osage, Potawatomi, and French ancestry. His father was of English, Scots, and Welsh heritage. His first words as an infant were in French and Kansa, both languages learned from his mother. She died when he was three, but he lived for some time with her parents on the Kaw reservation and returned to them in later years.
When his father, a soldier, was captured and imprisoned during wartime, the toddler was cared for by his maternal grandparents on the Kaw reservation in Kansas.
Before he was ten years old, "Indian Charley" was already renowned for his equestrian skills and as a distance rider. He loved racing horses; later he was a highly successful jockey in prairie horse races.
After graduating from high school, he studied the law and established a law practice. He served as the prosecuting attorney of Shawnee County, Kansas.
He was elected to the House of Representatives where he served several consecutive terms. After his time in the House, he served as a US Senator for about a decade and half, including a stint as Senate Majority Leader, until he resigned to become Vice President. He and his running mate won in landslide. To celebrate, he arranged for a Native American jazz band to perform at the inauguration.
Charles Curtis (January 25, 1860 Ė February 8, 1936), the Kaw-American attorney and politician from Kansas, was elected in 1928 on a ticket with Herbert Hoover. He served as the 31st vice president of the United States from 1929 to 1933.