Michael Spears (born December 28, 1977) is an American actor.
Spears was born in Chamberlain, South Dakota on the Lower Brulé Lakota Sioux Reservation to Native American parents. He is a member of the Sicangu Lakota (often called "Sioux") Lower Brule Tribe of South Dakota. He grew up on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation until he was in fifth grade.
His debut role as the child character Otter, in the Academy Award-winning 1990 film Dances with Wolves, also earned him national notice at thirteen years old. By the age of 17, Spears had acted in both TV and film with some gifted performers, including Kevin Costner, Jimmy Smits and Kim Delaney. His younger brother Eddie Spears is also an actor, with both movie and TV credits.
Spears is an accomplished hand drum player and singer, often performing at powwows and in non-tribal venues (he was the opening act for Rita Coolidge and Friends at her 2005 concert in Great Falls, Montana). Michael often travels as a celebrity speaker concentrating on inspirational and educational topics including sustainable energy, and mentors youth in South Dakota. He works with his father and brother as part of the Inter-Tribal Group, whose goal is to encourage creation of "natural" sustainable energy sources.
He can speak Lakota but is not fluent. At first Michael learnt it from his father and grandfather but he is still learning. During the filming of Into the West he (and the other actors) had lessons from a linguist.
In 2007 he was preparing for the release of the movie, Imprint, in which he portrays Tom Grey Horse, a tribal police officer. Also in 2007 he filmed a new movie Shadowheart, which also has William Sadler, Christian Fortune, and Devin Brochu, with Angus Mac Fadyen, which is slated for release on August 4, 2009.
Filmography associated with Michael Spears:
- Jesus In Cowboy Boots
- Winter In The Blood
- Yellow Rock
- The Legend Of Hells Gate An American Conspiracy
- Guns, Girls and Gambling
- Into The West
- Lakota Woman Siege At Wounded Knee
- The Broken Chain
- The Broken Cord
- Dances with Wolves