NEW YORK — Nearly 50 years after Sachin Littlefeather stood up on the Academy Awards stage on behalf of Marlon Brando to talk about the portrayal of Native Americans in Hollywood films, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences declared the abuse he faced. apologized to him for that.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures said Monday it will host the now 75-year-old Littlefeather for an evening of “conversation, healing and celebration” on September 17.
When Brando Won Best Actor Saint, Littlefeather, took to the stage, wearing a buckskin dress and moccasins, becoming the first Native American woman to do so at the Academy Awards. In a 60-second speech, he explained that Brando could not accept the award because of “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry”.
Some in the audience booed him. John Wayne, who was backstage at the time, was reportedly furious. The 1973 Oscars were held during the American Indian Movement’s two-month occupation of the injured knee in South Dakota. In the years since, Littlefeather has said that she was ridiculed, discriminated against, and personally attacked for her brief Academy Awards.
Making the announcement, the Academy Museum shared a letter sent to Littlefeather on June 18 by Academy President David Rubin about the iconic Oscar moment. Rubin called Littlefeather’s speech “a powerful statement that reminds us of the need for respect and the importance of human dignity.”
“The abuse you suffered because of this statement was unjustified and unjustified,” Rubin wrote. “The emotional burden you have endured and the value of your own career in our industry is irreparable. The courage you have shown over a very long period of time has gone unnoticed. For this, we extend our deepest apologies and our sincere appreciation. “
“It’s heartening to see how much has changed since I accepted the Academy Award 50 years ago,” Littlefeather said in a statement.
“About the Academy’s apology, we Indians are very patient people – it’s only been 50 years!” Littlefeather said. “We need to maintain our sense of humor about this at all times. It’s our way of escaping.”
At the Academy Museum event in Los Angeles, Littlefeather will sit down for a conversation with producer Bird Runningwater, co-chair of the Academy’s Indigenous Coalition.
In A podcast earlier this year with Jacqueline StewartA film scholar and director of the Academy Museum, Littlefeather reflected on what forced him to speak in 1973.
“I felt there should be Native peoples, black people, Asian people, Chicano people – I felt everyone should be included,” Littlefeather said. “A rainbow of people who must be involved in creating their own image.”