Academy apologizes to Sachin Littlefeather for refusing Oscar on Marlon Brando’s behalf

Nearly 50 years later, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is formally apologizing for the misbehavior Littlefeather suffered during his speech and in the years that followed.

“The abuse you have suffered because of this report is unnecessary and unjustified,” former academy president David Rubin wrote in a letter to Littlefeather. “The emotional burden you’ve endured in our industry and the cost to your own life is irreparable. The courage you’ve shown for so long has gone unrecognized. For this, we offer our deepest apologies and our sincere appreciation.”

In a statement, Littlefeather called the upcoming event, during which he will receive the pardon in person, “a dream come true.”

“For the Academy to apologize to me, we Indians are very patient — it’s been 50 years!” she said. “We always have to keep a sense of humor about it. It’s our survival mode.”

Several Indigenous artists will perform during the event for Littlefeather, including Bird Runningwater, co-chair of the Academy’s Indigenous Alliance, and Virginia Carmelo, a descendant of the Tongwa people who is leading the land concession.

“It’s heartwarming to see how much has changed since I didn’t accept the Academy Award 50 years ago,” Littlefeather said.

Her speech was applauded and well received

When Brando won best actor for “The Godfather,” he wasn’t. Instead, he asked Littlefeather, then an actress and activist, to attend the ceremony — and refuse the award on his behalf.

takes the stage Quiet and calm in a buckskin outfit, Littlefeather introduced herself as an Apache woman and leader of the National Native American Affirmative Action Group.
“(Brando) can’t accept this very generous award with great regret because of the treatment of American Indians in the film industry today,” he said. said Amid a mix of cheers and applause, Pausing and appearing visibly upset. “I ask at this time that I have not intruded on this evening, and that in the future, our hearts and our understanding will meet with love and generosity.”
Brando also declined to accept the award due to the federal government’s response Knee injury, when members of the American Indian Movement occupied a South Dakota town, they were met with resistance from federal law enforcement. Littlefeather said he promised Brando he wouldn’t touch the Oscar statue.
“I focused on the open mouths and jaws in the audience, and there were quite a few,” she said said Official Academy Blog, A.Frame. “But it was like looking at a sea of ​​Clorox and, you know, there were very few people in the audience.”
John Wayne, he said, was once a conservative western star said “Indians selfishly tried to keep (America) for themselves,” she was accused, despite being stopped by security guards who “took her (her) off the stage”.

After the ceremony, Littlefeather said she was “relieved” and had difficulty finding work in the film industry. He devoted much of his post-Oscar career to activism and founding arts organizations for indigenous actors.

Although she received condemnation from some in Hollywood who disagreed with protecting Native Americans, Littlefeather said she received praise and support from leaders such as Coretta Scott King and Cesar Chavez.

“I know I did the right thing,” he told A.Prem.

Correction: This article has been updated to note that David Rubin is a former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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