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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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'Twilight' star to discuss American Indian identity

Chaske Spencer

Vampire-fighter Chaske Spencer to discuss empowerment, change.

By Robb Murray, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 4/24/2011]

Most know him as the alpha wolf who, when he’s not fighting vampires, is shapeshifting
back into a shirtless hunk alongside Taylor Lautner’s character in the “Twilight” film series.

But lately, in addition to his acting duties (which aren’t, by the way, limited to vampire movies), he’s been in the limelight for a much different reason. Chaske Spencer, 36, who plays the role of “Sam” in the Twilight films — the leader of a pack of Native Americans who can transform into wolves when needed — has become a real-life activist for an organization called Be the Shift, affiliated with United Global Shift.

Their primary goal: Empower people to create sustainable, lasting change in their communities through creating awareness of current issues and conditions, creating alternatives that promote dignity, justice, unity and accountability, and by taking action that supports the creation of these alternatives.

Spencer will headline a celebration of American Indian culture and identity that runs from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Minnesota State Mankato's Bresnan Arena. Spencer’s talk is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The event, organized by the university’s American Indian Affairs office, is open to the public. Spencer will talk about his work with Be the Shift.

His appearance comes at a time when the university’s American Indian Affairs department is trying to modernize its identity.

In the past, the activities have been limited to traditional representations of native people, such as powwows.

Spencer won’t be the only attraction Thursday. They’ll also have the “Original Green” exhibit, which focuses on sustainability and recently was featured at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis.

For the complete Free Press story, go to The Free Press e-edition at, or see the April 24 print edition.

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