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Sacheen Littlefeather

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Occupation  Civil rights activist
Name  Sacheen Littlefeather
Role  Actress

Sacheen Littlefeather in her fierce look while wearing headband

Full Name  Marie Louise Cruz
Born  November 14, 1946 (age 69) (1946-11-14) Salinas, California
Movies  The Trial of Billy Jack, Winterhawk
Similar People  Marlon Brando, Charles B Pierce, Tom Laughlin

Sacheen littlefeather


Sacheen Littlefeather (born Marie Louise Cruz; November 14, 1946) is an American actress and activist for Native American civil rights. She gave a speech at the 45th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27, 1973, for actor Marlon Brando, to decline the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Godfather. The speech was a protest at the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry and television.

Contents

Sacheen Littlefeather wearing dress and jewelries while holding a piece of paper

Marlon brando s oscar win for the godfather


Early life

Sacheen Littlefeather smiled while wearing red jacket and black inner top

Littlefeather was born in Salinas, California. Her ancestry is Apache, Yaqui, and Pueblo on her father's side, while her mother is of French, German, and Dutch descent. She claims that her father was from the White Mountain Apache and Yaqui tribes of Arizona and that "Cruz" is her father's recognized tribal name.

Activism

Sacheen Littlefeather wearing dress and jewelries while looking at the piece of paper she holds

A member of Indians of All Tribes, Littlefeather participated in the occupation of Alcatraz Island by American Indians' rights activists in 1969.

Academy Awards acceptance speech

Marlon Brando became involved with the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the early 1970s. Despite being the favourite to win the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972), Brando decided to boycott the ceremony as a protest against the ongoing siege at Wounded Knee and his views on how American Indians were being portrayed in Hollywood movies or on American television. In early 1973, he contacted AIM about providing a person to accept an Oscar on his behalf. Native American leaders, Dennis Banks and Russell Means, picked Sacheen Littlefeather to collect the award.

Brando wrote a 15-page speech about the ongoing federal siege at Wounded Knee for Littlefeather to give at the ceremony. However, when a producer met her backstage he threatened to physically remove her or have her arrested if she spoke on stage for more than 60 seconds. Wearing a traditional Apache dress for the occasion, her on-stage comments were therefore improvised. She then went backstage and read the entire speech to waiting journalists.

Roger Moore, who presented the award (and had recently been announced as the new "James Bond, Agent 007"), stated in his autobiography My Word Is My Bond, that he took the Oscar home with him and kept it in his possession until it was collected by an armed guard sent by the Academy. Moore repeated this story on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show in 1982.

Littlefeather's appearance prompted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to rule out future proxy acceptance of Academy Awards.

Inspiration

Jada Pinkett Smith wrote to Littlefeather saying that watching her Oscars speech encouraged her to boycott the 88th Academy Awards.

Filmography

  • The Laughing Policeman (1973) (uncredited)
  • Counselor at Crime (1973)
  • 45th Annual Academy Awards (TV) (1973) (Representing Marlon Brando to explain his boycotting of his Best Actor award for The Godfather)
  • Freebie and the Bean (1974) (uncredited)
  • The Trial of Billy Jack (1974)
  • Winterhawk (1975)
  • Johnny Firecloud (1975)
  • Shoot the Sun Down (1978)
  • Reel Injun (2009)
  • References

    Sacheen Littlefeather Wikipedia


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