Nearly 50 years after Sacheen Littlefeather, an actress and Native American activist, declined Marlon Brando’s Best Actor prize for “The Godfather” on his behalf at the 1973 Oscars, the Academy publicly apologized for its treatment of Littlefeather on Monday.
Littlefeather, just 26 years old at the time, was the first Native American woman to ever take the stage at the Academy Awards, and she was met with loud booing and racial slurs from the audience. Even backstage, she was threatened with physical harm.
On September 17, Littlefeather will be the featured guest at an on-stage conversation hosted by the Academy Museum as part of a program offering “a reflection aimed at healing.”
Quote from the statement:
As you stood on the Oscars stage in 1973 to not accept the Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando, in recognition of the misrepresentation and mistreatment of Native American people by the film industry, you made a powerful statement that continues to remind us of the necessity of respect and the importance of human dignity.
The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified. 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. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration.
You can read the statement in its entirety by clicking on this link here.