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After 50 years: Oscar Academy apologizes to Littlefeather

Status: 16/08/2022 10:55 am

In 1973, the Apache Littlefeather rejected his Oscar in the open stage on behalf of the movie star Brando. There were verbal attacks and boos. The organizer has now apologized in a letter.

After nearly 50 years, the Oscar Academy sent a letter apologizing to indigenous activist Sacheen Littlefeather. At the 1973 Academy Awards, Littlefeather turned down the Oscar on behalf of star actor Marlon Brando, which the actor had won for his role in the Mafia epic The Godfather. Some of the audience responded with boos.

The actress and member of the Apache tribe said on stage at the time that Brando “unfortunately could not accept this very generous award”. He wanted to protest against Hollywood’s treatment of Native American people.

Littlefeather took the stage in traditional Apache clothing and moccasins and created a sensation with a 60-second speech.

Image: imago images/Everett Collection

Activists occupied Wounded Knee

In addition to applause, Littlefeather received a number of boos from the audience. Western movie star John Wayne was backstage and reportedly became angry at the activist’s appearance. Littlefeather later said Wayne wanted to physically attack her and six security guards had to hold him back.

In 1973, members of what became known as the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied the town of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Littlefeather’s spectacular appearance brought additional international attention to the AIM campaign. However, in the years following her historic Oscar moment, Littlefeather said she was taunted, discriminated against and verbally abused.

“Unacceptable and unjustified”

The Oscar Academy already wrote the letter to Littlefeather in mid-June, but only made it public on Monday. The occasion is the invitation of the activist to give a speech at the Oscar Museum in Los Angeles. The panel discussion in September should be about “exchange and healing,” according to the letter sent by then-Academy President David Rubin.

“The abuse you suffered because of that statement was unwarranted and unwarranted,” Rubin wrote. “The emotional burden you have endured and the cost of your career in our industry is irreparable.” Littlefeather’s “courage” has gone unrecognized for too long. “We sincerely apologize for this and at the same time express our sincere admiration.”

“We are patient people”

Littlefeather was pleased. It was “deeply encouraging to see how much has changed since I didn’t accept the Oscar 50 years ago,” she said. “As for the Academy’s apology, we Indians are very patient people – it’s only 50 years,” she added. “We always have to keep our sense of humor about it. It’s our survival strategy.”

Oscar Academy apologizes to native Littlefeather

Katharina Wilhelm, ARD Los Angeles, August 16, 2022 10:25 am.

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