03 Oct 2022, 13:09

Native American actress who refused Oscar for Brando dies at 75

WASHINGTON, Oct 3, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Sacheen Littlefeather, the Native 
American activist and actress who was booed in 1973 as she refused an Oscar 
on behalf of Marlon Brando, has died aged 75, the Academy of Motion Picture 
Arts and Sciences said Sunday.

The Academy announced her death in a tweet that quoted Littlefeather as 
saying: "When I am gone, always be reminded that whenever you stand for your 
truth, you will be keeping my voice and the voices of our nations and our 
people alive."

Two weeks ago, the Academy held a ceremony at its new Los Angeles museum 
honoring Littlefeather and publicly apologizing for her treatment at the 
Oscars ceremony nearly 50 years ago.

Littlefeather, who is of Apache and Yaqui heritage, was booed at the 1973 
Academy Awards -- the first to be broadcast live around the world -- while 
explaining on Brando's behalf why he would not accept his Best Actor Oscar 
for "The Godfather."

Brando had asked Littlefeather to decline the award for him in an act of 
protest against the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry.

"I went up there, like a proud Indian woman with dignity, with courage, with 
grace, and with humility," Littlefeather said at the museum event.

"I knew that I had to speak the truth. Some people may accept it. And some 
people may not."

She said Western star John Wayne had to be restrained from physically 
assaulting her as she left the stage.

Littlefeather, a member of the Screen Actors' Guild, subsequently found it 
difficult to get work in Hollywood, with casting directors warned not to 
employ her.

Asked by reporters ahead of the ceremony how she felt about having to wait so 
long to hear the word "sorry," Littlefeather was philosophical.

"It's never too late for an apology," she said.

"It's never too late for forgiveness."


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