Sacheen Littlefeather (Apache and Yaqui from Arizona) has formally accepted an apology from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for her mistreatment at the 1973 Oscars.
You might remember, the actress (now activist) had taken to the stage at the event on behalf of Marlon Brando who had won the Best Actor award, and declined it at his request. She was booed off the podium and endured years of discrimination and backlash after she peacefully highlighted the mistreatment of Native Americans in the entertainment industry as well as “The Wounded Knee standoff” between law enforcement and the American Indian Movement.
“[Marlon Brando] very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award,” she said to the audience at the time. “And the reasons for this being the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry, excuse me, and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee.”
“I am here accepting this apology,” the now 75-year-old Littlefeather said on stage.
“Not only for me alone, but as acknowledgment, knowing that it was not only for me but for all of our nations that also need to hear and deserve this apology tonight.”
She took some time to reflect on the moment which took place nearly 50 years ago before ending her speech with some powerful word: “Please, when I’m gone, always be reminded that whenever you stand for your truth, you will be keeping my voice and the voices of our nations and our people alive. I remain Sacheen Littlefeather. Thank you.”
(Feature Image Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)