We The Inspired first came across Kansas Middletent, who is also known by his Native name Crazy Bronc Rider, over Instagram (Siouxperman605). His Handle caught my attention and curiosity; and I'm glad I took the time to look.
Kansas currently represents Native Hope as an Ambassador, Marketing Consultant, Community Relations Coordinator and a Mentor and Leadership Coach for the youth group they help guide. As an Ambassador he travels the United States from the East Coast to the West Coast and everywhere in between sharing His story of hope, the true history of His culture and traditions, historical trauma and intergenerational trauma and the effects this has on His people in today’s society, and health; emotional, mental, and physical.
Kansas comes from the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, His grandmother’s family is the Spotted Hawk Family, and His grandfather’s family is the Middletent Family. He currently residing on the Lower Brule Reservation. We The Inspired is honored to be able to share his story of resilience, strength, struggle and perseverance to overcome many obstacles and be the great role model he is today.
"I am a Lakota man and serve my people, my community and my family by following the seven Lakota virtues taught to me by my elders.
I was had a very dysfunctional upbringing, surrounded by violence, drugs and alcohol, and abuse. My biological mother gave my twin and I up at the age of six months old, to my father, who struggles with many difficulties in his life. My Cekpa (twin) and I lived the party scene and seen our fair share of destruction because of the choices made by our father.
We were regulars at all the local bars, entertainers at house parties, and punching bags for my father after he could not control his drinking. I faced adversity at a very young age in life and struggled because of it in many different ways. My father traveled all over for various reason and took us with him. He traveled for work, rodeos, but mainly traveled and moved because of his womanizer tendencies and being in, what seemed like, a dozen relationships a year. We bounced around from Reservation to Reservation, Bordertown to Bordertown, all over the state of South Dakota, North Dakota and Chicago. I never had stability in my life, never knew who truly loved me, or did not know where I even belonged. I was lost, hopeless, and never knew what love truly was or meant. I went to nine different elementary schools, middle schools, and often times did not attend school. My twin brother and I were bullied at many of the schools we went to because no matter where we went we were the outsiders, whether it was Reservations or white communities, we just did not fit in. We started to excel in sports and our father stressed the importance of education at a very young age. He said, “Using both those tools hand in hand will get you off this reservation, will give you a better life than you can dream of, and will allow you to be anything you want to be. Always work hard and never give up.” He instilled in us a warrior’s mentality.
After eighth grade graduation, my dad, gave us a choice to make. One that would change our lives forever and for the best. He asked my brother and me where we wanted to live. He and his wife were having a fall out and we were being kicked out of her house too with nowhere to go. We chose to move back home to Lower Brule, SD with our Unci (Grandmother). We were tired of struggling, tired of having to fend for ourselves, and make our own way. We wanted to be kids; we wanted to be normal, like all of our friends and their families. He allowed us to move back after summer’s end, to spend more time with him and the friends we had grown to know on the Pine Ridge Reservation. We then went back home two weeks before school was starting but we spent so much time away that many people told us to go back where we had come from. We were no longer accepted in our own community, within our own tribe, and most of our family resented us as well. My Unci told us to pay no attention to those people because they were just jealous.
Moving with my Unci was the best thing for us. She gave us things we never had before: stability, love, and most importantly unconditional love. She showed us love in the smallest of ways that people often overlook: clean cloths, dinner every night, and tough love. Telling us what we needed to hear rather than what we wanted to hear. With her guidance and support, I graduated high school at the top of my class…becoming the Valedictorian, a Gates Millennium Scholar, and receiving a full academic and athletic scholarship to play football and basketball and Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota. I received twenty-one scholarships overall and was awarded All-State Honors for football and basketball.
Today, I am a father to one beautiful and amazing daughter, Lael (11) and two handsome sons, Nate (9) and Jonah (9m). I reside in my hometown and tribe, Kul Wicasa Oyate aka Lower Brule, SD. I do many things for my community and help my people in as many ways as I possibly can."
Kansas now works and represents Native Hope, a nonprofit organization. They work in many different ways, helping break down Native American stereotypes, myths, and barriers that hold our people back. They provide many different services to the nine different tribes in South Dakota, a few tribes in North Dakota and Nebraska, and The Bear River Tribe in California.
They take their Leaders’ Society, around to national youth conferences all over the country in hopes to inspire them to see what this world has to offer, to develop their skills the creator has given them, and to provide leadership to help them change their environments, reservations, and situations all by using their voices. Native Hope and Kansas use their platform and networking skills to provide opportunities to the youth who might not have them otherwise.They also have a college readiness program and a youth enrichment program so their young leaders can give back to their peers and put their own skills to use.
Kansas states, "We currently have forty-three youth leaders’ in our society.
As part of the Seventh Generation that our ancestors prophesized, I am part of that generation, a generation who is not settling for the status quo. We will restore the dignity and vitality of our people so we may flourish the way they spoke. The youth are our future. It my job as a warrior to ensure they have a future and will grow up strong to change our current situations. Currently, the situations we live in are tragic: Wide spread poverty and addiction, rampant violence and abuse, and epidemic levels of suicide. At Native Hope, we are here to provide hope to the hopeless, love to those who seek it, and opportunity to those who do not have it. It takes us all working together, Native and Non-Native, in unity."
To be involved in their Circle of Hope please look at their website: www.nativehope.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by typing Native Hope in your search bar.
"Help us tell the untold story of Native Americans and to help us overcome and inspire hope. Wopila Tanka (Big Thank You)" - Kansas Middletent