Sacheen Littlefeather has finally received a long-overdue apology from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Littlefeather was stunned to receive a formal private apology letter in June from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. “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,” the letter read, signed by the Academy’s then-president David Rubin. “For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration.”
History behind the apology
Nearly 50 years ago, “The Godfather” star Marlon Brando, who boycotted the 1973 Oscar ceremony in protest of Hollywood’s negative portrayals of Native Americans. Littlefeather accepted the best actor Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando and delivered a 60-second speech on his behalf, explaining that Brando could not accept the award because of “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.” She was roundly mocked and booed by some members of the audience. Littlefeather became the first Native American woman to speak onstage at the Oscars.
The 1973 Oscars were held during the American Indian Movement’s two-month occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, which Brando referenced in the speech she delivered. In the years since, Littlefeather has said she’s been discriminated against and personally attacked for her brief appearance.
An Evening With Sacheen Littlefeather
Now, Littlefeather will be honored at “An Evening With Sacheen Littlefeather,” which the AMPAS describes as “a very special program of conversation, reflection, healing and celebration.” The event, announced Monday, will be held Sept. 17 at the Academy Museum in Los Angeles.
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