He is the second after Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, Charles Curtis, to have a Native American ancestry. Dr. Ornelas is the great-great-great-grandson of Chief Cristobal Osuna from a tribe in the San Diego Mountains circa the Treaty of
Charles Curtis was born January 25, 1860, in Topeka, Kansas, to Oren Arms and Ellen (Pappan) Curtis. His mother had American Indian ancestry—Kansa, Osage, and Potawatomi. He worked as a clerk for Topeka attorney A. H. Case and later as partner. He was elected county prosecutor in 1884 and became widely known for his strict enforcement of the prohibition law. Curtis rose to national prominence with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1892.
Vice-President of the United State Charles Curtis was an enrolled member of the Kaw Tribe and spent time growing up on the Kaw reservation in Kansas. He served almost thirteen years in Congress and twenty years in the Senate before becoming Herbert Hoover's Vice-President in 1929. Charles Curtis's time as Vice-President has been silent and only recently brought to light again with the election of President Obama as the first African-American President.