Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who famously turned down Marlon Brando’s Oscar for The Godfather, passed away at the age of 75. This Sunday marked barely two months since the Academy officially apologised for its treatment of the Native American activist during the 1973 Academy Awards. Here is all the information you require on the actor.
About Sacheen Littlefeather :
In 1946, in the Navajo Nation of Arizona, Sacheen Littlefeather, also known as Sacheen Littlefeather-Mills, was born. She has been working for these causes since she was a youngster and is a Native American rights activist.
Her mother’s mental condition and her father’s drinking issues caused her to be severely mistreated as the daughter of an Apache and Yaqui father and a white mother; at the age of three, she was taken in by her grandparents to be nurtured more comfortably. She witnessed her father hitting her mother when she was a young child. Today, you might claim, “I believe that has shaped who I am.”
When Littlefeather was 17 years old and her father had passed away, she started traveling to reservations in Arizona. “I experienced a breakthrough when we reconnected with our customs and heritage with other urban Indians. Old folks from other reservations came to visit us and welcome us, and they were so happy to do so that they kept saying things like, “You look like you could be in an old image again.” It was fantastic.
American Indian Movement :
By the time she was in her early 20s, Littlefeather was running a Native American affirmative action committee in addition to working at a radio station in San Francisco. She also looked into how Native Americans are portrayed in sports and on television. as soon as she overheard Marlon Brando discussing native rights.
Since she helped found the American Indian Movement when she was 14 years old, she has been an activist (AIM). She joined the national executive board of that organization in 1973, which led to her being repeatedly imprisoned. To recognize exceptional Native American women leaders, Littlefeather established the National Indian Women’s Hall of Fame Foundation after being released from prison in 1980.
Radio and television ads served as Sacheen Littlefeather’s entry point into the performing world. She played Maggie in the Italian-Spanish criminal drama “Counsellor at Crime” in 1973. Her uncredited parts in the 1974 films “Freebie and the Bean” and “The Laughing Policeman,” which were released in 1973 and 1974, respectively, came after this. Additionally, the actress portrayed Patsy Littlejohn in the action sequel to the 1971 film Billy Jack, “The Trial of Billy Jack,” which starred Delores Taylor and Tom Laughlin. She worked on the movies “Winterhawk” and “Shoot the Sun Down” in the years that followed.
Littlefeather made contributions to a few PBS programmes in the 1990s, such as “The Americas Before Columbus” and “Remember Me Forever.” She made an appearance as herself in the documentary “Reel Injun” in 2009. She released a documentary with the same name in 2018.
The 45th Academy Award Speech
Marlon Brando was represented by Sacheen Littlefeather at the 45th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27, 1973, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. As part of a boycott organized by AIM against the portrayal of Native Americans in the American film industry, Brando, who was nominated for Best Actor for his performance as Vito Corleone in the 1972 movie “The Godfather,” abstained from the ceremony. Littlefeather, who was posing as Brando’s representative, entered the room but turned down the Oscar Roger Moore and Liv Ullmann holding out to her.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was moved by her speech to ban the Oscars from being accepted via proxy in the future. Littlefeather was put on a Hollywood blacklist.
How did she die?
The Native American rights advocate Sacheen Littlefeather, who declined Marlon Brando’s Oscar for “The Godfather” on his behalf at the 1973 Academy Awards, passed away on Sunday at the age of 75, according to the Academy of Motion Pictures. She had breast cancer and had been ill. A caregiver was quoted by the Hollywood Reporter as saying that she passed away at noon on Sunday in her home in Northern California, surrounded by her loved ones.
What happened on Oscar Night?
Alice Marchak, Brando’s secretary, was with Littlefeather. She arrived on stage wearing an outfit made of Apache buckskin and declined Moore’s invitation to present her with the Oscar. and then read, “Hello. Sacheen Littlefeather is my name. The National Native American Affirmative Image Committee’s president is Apache like myself.
This evening, I’m standing in for Marlon Brando, who has asked me to give you a lengthy speech. Due to time constraints, I’m unable to share it with you now, but I’ll be happy to do so with the media after the session. Now, he is unable to accept it.
American Indian representations have frequently been mishandled in media, including movies and TV reruns. I want to be clear that these complaints don’t just happen; they’re the result of my concern for how the film and television industries handle this group. Our hearts and minds will come together in generous exchange of love.
Later on, it was discovered that John Wayne was waiting in the audience and had to be restrained by six security personnel to keep him from ejecting her from the stage. Brando had intended for his address to be 739 words long, but the organizers of the ceremony asked Littlefeather to reduce it to 60 seconds. At the press conference, she later read the entire remarks.