Nathan Chasing Horse has been charged in Alberta, Canada, with new sex crimes in the latest criminal case to be brought against the former Dances With Wolves actor.
He remains jailed in Las Vegas as he awaits trial in a sexual abuse case that has helped police in two countries corroborate long-standing allegations against him.
At a virtual news conference on Wednesday, Sgt Nancy Farmer of the Tsuut’ina Nation Police Service acknowledged that the Alberta case is largely symbolic.
Chasing Horse — who faces not only decades in a Nevada prison if convicted in the Las Vegas case but criminal prosecution in five jurisdictions — might not ever return to Canada to answer to these charges.
“At the end of the day, it is important for us to have these warrants in the system so our victims know they’ve been heard,” Sgt Farmer said.
“It’s extremely important that we continue to support them that way.”
Chasing Horse’s public defender in Las Vegas, Kristy Holston, said she has no comment on the new charges. It was not immediately clear whether Chasing Horse has a lawyer in Canada who could comment on his behalf.
Farmer said Chasing Horse, 47, faces nine charges in Alberta, including three counts of sexual exploitation and four counts of sexual assault. The crimes in their jurisdiction date back to 2005, she said.
Chasing Horse was born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Sicangu Sioux, one of the seven tribes of the Lakota nation. He is widely known for his portrayal of Smiles a Lot in Kevin Costner’s Oscar-winning film.
After starring in the 1990 movie, Chasing Horse had built a name for himself among tribes in the US and Canada as a self-proclaimed medicine man who could communicate with higher beings.
Police and prosecutors in Las Vegas have accused him of using that position to lead a cult, gain access to vulnerable Indigenous women and girls, and take underage wives starting in the early 2000s.
He is charged in the Las Vegas case with 18 felonies that include sexual assault of a minor, child abuse and kidnapping. He also faces criminal prosecution in the British Columbia village of Keremeos, the US District Court in Nevada, and on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana.
Court proceedings in the Las Vegas case have been put on hold indefinitely as Chasing Horse awaits a decision on his appeal filed last month to the Nevada Supreme Court asking for his indictment to be thrown out.
Chasing Horse and his public defenders have said in legal filings that his accusers wanted to have sex with him. One of the women was younger than 16 — the age of consent in Nevada — when she says Chasing Horse began abusing her.