Nathan Chasing Horse, ‘Dances With Wolves’ actor accused of sexually abusing Indigenous girls, leads ‘Circle’ cult

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NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nevada — A former “Dances with Wolves” actor accused of sexually abusing indigenous girls and running a cult must remain in custody without bail until his next court hearing, a judge ruled Thursday morning.

Nathan Chasing Horse, 46, was charged with sex trafficking, sexual assault of a child under 16 and child abuse. He has been in custody since his arrest Tuesday afternoon outside the North Las Vegas home he shares with his five wives.

This Tuesday, January 31, 2023, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released a booking photo of Nathan chasing a horse.

He appeared briefly in court in North Las Vegas on Thursday but did not speak before Justice of the Peace Belinda Harris scheduled a bail hearing for Monday. Chasing Horse has not been formally charged.

On Monday, Harris is expected to consider custody of Chasing Horse while he awaits trial and may set bail after she hears from attorneys, investigators, victims and relatives of the accused.

Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jessica Walsh told a judge Thursday that Las Vegas police detectives, FBI special agents and victims will testify at the hearing.

Gesturing to the front row of the courtroom gallery, where members of the Chasing Horse family were seated, public defender Michael Wilfong said he had “a lot of support.” His relatives declined to comment as they left the courthouse, as did Wilfong.

Best known for his role as the young Sioux tribe member “Many Smiles” in Kevin Costner’s Oscar-winning film, “Chasing the Horse,” earned a reputation among tribes across the United States and Canada as a so-called medicine man who conducted healing ceremonies.

According to an arrest warrant released Wednesday, he is believed to be the leader of a cult known as the Circle, whose followers believed he could communicate with a higher power. Police said he abused his position, physically and sexually abused indigenous girls and married minors for two decades.

Chasing Horse was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Sikanga Sioux, one of the seven tribes of the Lakota Nation.

A 50-page search warrant obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday said Chasing Horse trained his wives to use firearms, telling them to “shoot” the police if they tried to “break up their family.” When that didn’t work, he ordered his wives to take “suicide pills.”

SWAT officers and detectives took Chasing Horse into custody and cleared the family’s home without incident.

Detectives who searched Chasing Horse’s property and vehicles found firearms, 41 pounds (18.5 kilograms) of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, and a memory stick containing several videos of sexual abuse, according to Chasing Horse’s arrest report released Wednesday.

Additional charges may be filed in connection with the video, the report said.

Las Vegas police said in a search warrant that investigators have identified at least six victims of sexual assault, including one who was 13 when she said she was assaulted. Police also traced sex allegations against Chasing Horse to the early 2000s in Canada and several states, including South Dakota, Montana and Nevada, where he lived for about a decade.

According to the police, one of Chasing Horse’s wives was offered to him as a “gift” when she was 15 years old, while the other became his wife after 16 years. He is also accused of recording sexual assaults and arranging sex between the victims and other men who paid him.

His arrest comes nearly a decade after he was expelled from the Fort Peck reservation in Poplar, Montana, amid allegations of human trafficking.

Fort Peck tribal leaders voted 7-0 to ban Chasing Horse from ever stepping foot on the reservation again in 2015, citing alleged drug trafficking, spiritual abuse and intimidation of tribal members, Indian Country Today reported.

Angeline Cheek, an activist and community organizer who has lived most of her life on the Fort Peck reservation, said she well remembers the tension that arose in tribal council chambers when Chasing Horse was kicked out.

“Some of Nathan’s fans told the attendees that something bad was going to happen to them,” Cheek told the AP. “They threatened our elders who sat in the councils.”

Cheek said she remembers Chasing Horse visiting the reservation a lot when she was growing up, especially during her high school years in the early 2000s when she would see him talking to his classmates.

Cheek, now 34, said she hopes Chasing Horse’s arrest will inspire more Native American girls and women to report crimes and push lawmakers and elected officials across the U.S. to prioritize the fight against Native American violence.

But she said she also hopes the cultural significance of witch doctors doesn’t get lost in the crime news.

“There are good medicine men and women among our people who are not trying to commercialize the sacred ways of our ancestors,” Cheek said. “They should be treating people, not harming them.”

Copyright © 2023, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Nathan Chasing Horse, ‘Dances With Wolves’ actor accused of sexually abusing Indigenous girls, leads ‘Circle’ cult

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