(Reuters) — Half a century ago, actor and activist Sashen Littlefeather took the stage at the Academy Awards show in a traditional buckskin dress, declining the Oscars on behalf of Marlon Brando, and becoming a Native American by the film industry. started to give a speech about the abuse of
At the 1973 ceremony, he was booed after 60 seconds for a remark that drew attention to an Indigenous protest in Woundney, South Dakota. She was then professionally boycotted by the film industry for decades.
On Saturday night, Littlefeather, now 75, was greeted with thunderous applause as she took the stage to reflect on her protests at an event honoring her at the Academy Museum in Los Angeles.
“Well, I made it. It took me 50 years,” she said.
The event, “An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather,” featured live Native American performances streamed on the museum’s YouTube page.
Her friend Bland boycotted the 45th Annual Oscar Awards, citing Native American stereotypes in movies and television. The Best Actor winner who played Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” asked Little Feather to attend in his place.
In addition to the boos, Littlefeather recalled on Saturday, people gesturing tomahawk chops and mocking “Indian” whoops.”Big John Wayne was ready to attack me.” He had to be held back by six guards,” she said.
Saturday’s program included reading a letter of apology for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ treatment of Littlefeather.
“When you stood on the Oscar stage in 1973 and refused to accept the Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando, you made a powerful statement acknowledging the film industry’s misrepresentation and abuse of Native Americans, and made a statement about the need for it. It continued to remind them of the respect and importance of human dignity,” the letter said.
She said, “I accept this apology as an acknowledgment not just for me, but for our (Native American) nation as a whole. Our nation needs to hear this apology.” .”