Sacheen Littlefeather Finally Receives An Apology From The Academy Awards After 50 Years

Sacheen Littlefeather Finally Receives An Apology From The Academy Awards After 50 Years

The actress is also invited to the Academy Museum as guest of honor.

The Academy Awards have officially apologized to actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather, 50 years after she received unjust treatment during the 45th Academy Awards in 1973. Along with it, she received a special invitation to the Academy Museum as guest of honor.

Oscars Apologizes to Sacheen Littlefeather

Littlefeather appeared on live television in 1973 to deny an Oscar that Marlon Brando had won for the film “The Godfather”; Brando had chosen to substitute the actress because of the representation of Native Americans in the US film industry.

At that time, she gave a brief speech, which was acquired by BBC News, and informed the audience that she was speaking on behalf of Brando, who had written “a very long speech,” and “that he very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award.”

The bloody confrontation with federal agents at a site of enormous cultural significance to the Sioux was also brought up as she proceeded, saying, “And the reasons for this being the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie re-runs, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee.”

Following her brief statement, she received harassment threats and was booed off the Oscars stage. Moreover, John Wayne tried to lay a finger on her and assault her but was prevented by six security. She was then accompanied by two security personnel when she had to leave the stage.

Sacheen Littlefeather

According to the organizers acquired by the outlet, by delivering the first political statement during the broadcast event, her speech established a precedent that has continued to this day.

She first received the statement from the Academy in private in June and discussed it with The Hollywood Reporter, stating, “I was stunned. I never thought I’d live to see the day I would be hearing this, experiencing this… When I was at the podium in 1973, I stood there alone.”

The letter of apology, signed by the then-Academy presidents David Rubin and dated June 18 and made public on Monday, is as follows: “The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified.”

“The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration.”

Littlefeather replied to the apology by simply stating, “Regarding the Academy’s apology to me, we Indians are very patient people — it’s only been 50 years.”

“We need to keep our sense of humor about this at all times,” the activist added. “It’s our method of survival.”

THR further reported that the apology letter would be read in its entirety at the September ceremony honoring Littlefeather alongside producer Bird Runningwater, co-chair of the Academy’s Indigenous Alliance.

Reactions to Sacheen Littlefeather Finally Receives An Apology From The Academy Awards After 50 Years

Just a reminder that it took 6 security guards to keep John Wayne from rushing the stage and attack Sacheen Littlefeather at the Academy Awards while Clint Eastwood mocked her request of TV and Film industry to treat indigenous people as humans.


Why don’t the Academy Awards apologise to Sacheen Littlefeather at the next Oscars rather than the middle of Summer and news cycle silly season? So random and much less impact, seems disingenuous to me. #r4today


She was blacklisted shortly after speaking out and currently has stage 4 cancer. They should pay her reparations because this just looks like they're looking for empty worded PR for their museum.


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