|Occupation Civil rights activist|
Name Sacheen Littlefeather
|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 (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.
- Sacheen littlefeather
- Marlon brando s oscar win for the godfather
- Early life
- Academy Awards acceptance speech
Marlon brando s oscar win for the godfather
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.
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.
Jada Pinkett Smith wrote to Littlefeather saying that watching her Oscars speech encouraged her to boycott the 88th Academy Awards.