As a youngster growing up on the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River and Rosebud reservations, Moses Brings Plenty didn't have a clear direction for his life.
"I used to try to ride bulls for a living," he explained. "I did a little modeling, but to me it was just a gig." He was hired as an extra for the 1992 Pine Ridge mystery action film "Thunderheart" and that got him started in a new direction.
South Dakota actors Moses Brings Plenty (left) and Michael Spears hang out backstage at a recent concert by Brings Plenty's band Brule'.
After another extra spot in Disney's "Hidalgo" in 2004 turned into a featured spot as a ghost dancer medicine man, Brings Plenty really began to think about a career in the movies.
"I talked to some elders and drove around the rez looking at the direction we are heading as a people," he said. "We have heroes, but they aren't in the public eye." A plan to use some celebrity status as a springboard for providing a role model to the young people began to formulate in his mind.
He moved to Omaha, Nebraska because he had heard good things about the community theater there. After studying the craft, he was cast as an extra in the Disney blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl." "When 'Pirates' 2 and 3 came up, I thought the chance to play Crazy Horse was a much bigger thing," he said of his role in the History Channel's "Who Killed Crazy Horse." So he skipped the swashbuckling sequels and played one of his greatest heroes for the first of several times.
The History Channel again tapped his talents in 2005 with "Comanche Warriors," having him play Quanah Parker. "It's great to play historical figures," he said. "When I got done playing those roles, I really began to feel the price those individuals paid for our existence. We don't want to forget that."
When the British Broadcasting Corporation came to Wasta, South Dakota to film a documentary on Custer's Last Stand, Brings Plenty took on the role of Crazy Horse for a second time. Since then he has also worked on "Rez Bomb," "Walking the Wind" and is cast for an upcoming project called "The Lost Warrior."
Constantly keeping in mind his chosen life role for setting an example, Brings Plenty said, "The people are my drive. I get tired of misrepresentation of us. If I can be any influence to a young child of any race, that's good. I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I don't even take aspirin. It's just not part of my culture." He refuses to be cast in beer commercials or anything of the sort.
He also spends a lot of effort promoting his home state. "I always throw in my 22 cents for South Dakota - the amazing scenery, the people that will work without complaint. You don't find that in California," he smiled.
Brings Plenty also performs music with the award-winning Native American band Brule'. Many fans count his powerful drumming as their favorite part of the Brule' stage show. For photos of Moses Brings Plenty with Brule', take a look at Chad's Concert Pix.
Moses Brings Plenty's official website is www.mobringsplenty.com.