Spencer’s journey has taken him from rural reservations in Idaho and Montana to the bright lights of New York where he’s now based. But he gets around. Recent work has taken him to Montana’s Fort Belknap Reservation, to shoot the film adaptation of the late Blackfeet author James Welch’s Winter In the Blood; to Australia, where he filmed the well-received but canceled NBC pilot shot in Australia, Frontier, and to the San Carlos Apache reservation to shoot the award-winning drama Shouting Secrets. Spencer spoke with ICTMN about his Twilight experiences, being an outspoken activist for positive change, and his never ending personal quest to grow as an artist.
How has growing up on various Indian reservations influenced your outlook on life?
I’ve lived on the Fort Peck, Northern Cheyenne, and the Nez Perce Reservations. I actually had a good time on all of those places and particularly enjoyed the family aspect of living there. There was a lot of poverty there and all that, and one of the reservations I moved to in the 80’s I’ll always remember had this horrible sulfuric smell in their tap water. I didn’t think much about it because I didn’t know any better or even know about life off the reservation. But just like everywhere in the world where people grow up in a lower end economic tier, I really do appreciate what I have the more I move up. It’s affected my political outlook as it’s helped me see behind the smoke and mirrors of how the U.S. government propaganda works, and what the media presents about American culture. So I took that background with me when I went to New York and started working as an actor, and I carry that with me to this day.
What made you decide to take a leap of faith to head to New York City from the rural Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana?
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