The Oscars apologizes to Sacheen Littlefeather

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Almost 50 years after Sacheen Littlefeather endured boos and abusive jokes on the Academy Awards, the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences is issuing a proper apology. In 1973, Littlefeather refused Marlon Brando’s Finest Actor Oscar on his behalf for his iconic position in “The Godfather” on the ceremony to protest the movie trade’s therapy of Native Individuals.

She defined that Brando “very regretfully can not settle for this very beneficiant award, the explanations for this being … the therapy of American Indians in the present day by the movie trade and on tv in film reruns, and likewise with latest happenings at Wounded Knee.”

Littlefeather is a Native American civil rights activist who was born to a Native American (Apache and Yaqui) father and a European American mom.


The surprising shock was greeted with a combination of applause and boos from the viewers and can be the butt of jokes informed by presenters, together with Clint Eastwood. Littlefeather later stated that John Wayne tried to assault her backstage.

“Lots of people have been being profitable off of that racism of the Hollywood Indian,” Littlefeather informed KQED. “After all, they’re going to boo. They do not need their night interrupted.”

The Academy is apologizing for what she endured with “a night of dialog, reflection, therapeutic, and celebration with Littlefeather” on September 17, 2022, on the Academy Museum of Movement Photos, it introduced on its weblog.

“The abuse you endured due to this assertion was unwarranted and unjustified,” former Academy president David Rubin wrote in a letter to Littlefeather, CNN experiences. “The emotional burden you’ve lived via and the price to your individual profession in our trade are irreparable. For too lengthy the braveness you confirmed has been unacknowledged. For this, we provide each our deepest apologies and our honest admiration.”

Littlefeather stated in an announcement that the occasion is “a dream come true” and joked that “we Indians are very affected person individuals—it is solely been 50 years! We have to maintain our humorousness about this always. It is our methodology of survival.”

It’s certain to be a cathartic night for Littlefeather.

“Individuals do not understand what my expertise was. That they had completely no concept—none—of what my expertise was, what I went via,” Littlefeather informed the Academy. “And now, I am right here to inform my story the best way that it was from my perspective, from my expertise.”

“It feels just like the sacred circle is finishing itself earlier than I am going on this life,” Littlefeather, 75, added. “It seems like a giant cleanse, if you’ll, of thoughts, physique, and spirit, and of coronary heart. It feels that the reality shall be recognized. And it feels just like the creator is being good to me.”

Brando handed away in 2014 however would in all probability be excited for Littlefeather’s lengthy overdue apology. Three months after she refused the award on his behalf, he defined his rationale for rejecting the Oscar on “The Dick Cavett Present.” The interview was historic as a result of Brando was recognized for avoiding the media, it was additionally far forward of its time given the local weather in Hollywood surrounding individuals of shade in 1973.

“I felt that there was a chance,” Brando calmly informed Cavett concerning the awards ceremony. “Because the American Indian hasn’t been capable of have his voice heard anyplace within the historical past of the USA, I felt that it was a fabulous alternative for an Indian to have the ability to voice his opinion to 85 million individuals, I assume that was the quantity. I felt that he had a proper to, in view of what Hollywood has accomplished to him.”

“The Godfather” star then expanded his ideas on illustration to incorporate all individuals of shade.

“I do not suppose individuals notice what the movement image trade has accomplished to the American Indian, and as a matter of reality, all ethnic teams. All minorities. All non-whites,” he stated. “So when somebody makes a protest of some variety and says, ‘No, please do not current the Chinese language this manner.’ … On this community, you’ll be able to see foolish renditions of human conduct. The leering Filipino houseboy, the wily Japanese or the kook or the gook. The fool Black man, the silly Indian. It goes on and on and on, and other people really do not understand how deeply these persons are injured by seeing themselves represented—not the adults, who’re already inured to that type of ache and stress, however the kids. Indian kids, seeing Indians represented as savage, as ugly, as nasty, vicious, treacherous, drunken—they develop up solely with a damaging picture of themselves, and it lasts a lifetime.”

Hollywood remains to be removed from superb on the subject of being really consultant of America at massive. However it’s miles forward of the place it was in 1973 when the movie trade, together with a few of its greatest stars, was outwardly hostile towards the thought of illustration.

The Academy’s public apology ought to give some closure to Littlefeather and supply hope to numerous others. As a result of when an trade actually confronts its previous errors, it makes a promise that it’ll be much less more likely to commit them sooner or later.

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