It took 49 years too long, but this brave Native American woman’s prayer…
“I beg at this time that…in the future, our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity.”
…has finally come true. See her speech, and read the text of the apology, as well as her life’s story following that fateful day.
“The first time Sacheen Littlefeather encountered the Academy, in 1973, she was booed onstage at the Oscars, heckled with mock ululations and so-called “tomahawk chops” offstage, and threatened with arrest and physical assault.
Nearly half a century later, she will return to the Academy as an invited guest of honor for an evening of reflection at the Academy Museum, featuring something she never dared to imagine: a formal apology from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“I was stunned. I never thought I’d live to see the day I would be hearing this, experiencing this,” Littlefeather (Apache/Yaqui/Ariz.), now 75…” …click above title for the rest.
A few apt Reddit comments:
“The fact that it took six security guards to physically restrain John Wayne and stop him from storming the stage and attacking her in an unhinged fit of rage, as Clint Eastwood laughed and booed her…”
John Wayne is the poster child of performative masculinity.
“What always strikes me about that speech is how polite and respectfully she said it…and she still got booed and mocked. Even then, she stayed polite and handed it very well. Class act.”
“John Wayne wanted to physically assault her.”
John “dodge the draft for World War Effing 2 but pressure young men to die in Vietnam” Wayne had a long and storied history of beating the f*ck out of women a third his size.
“…contrary to urban legend, the woman who accepted Marlon Brando’s 1973 Academy Award was in fact a Native American. Sacheen Littlefeather was born Maria Cruz to a white mother & full-blooded (but mixed tribe) Native dad. John Wayne had to be restrained from dragging her off stage.”
For those of us who don’t revel in the golden pageantry (and I’m with you, more or less, though there were some great moments last night), this has got to rank as one of the more meaningful moments among so many thank you thank you thank you Oscar speeches.
“Sacheen Littlefeather refusing to accept the Best Actor Oscar® on behalf of Marlon Brando for his performance in “The Godfather” – the 45th Annual Academy Awards® in 1973. Liv Ullmann and Roger Moore presented the award.”
Relephant bonus: a tough but fun and open discussion of race:
…is still a civil rights activist in California. She advocates mostly around First Nations health issues, however has also worked a lot with HIV education as well.
There is a wonderful documentary called Reel Injun that catches up with her. I really recommend this movie, it’s a down to earth look at Hollywood’s fascination with First Nations folk.