Sacheen Littlefeather dies weeks after accepting Academy’s apology

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By Creative Media News

Less than two months after the Academy apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather for her treatment at the 1973 awards, and just weeks after she publicly accepted the apology, Sacheen Littlefeather passed away.

Sacheen Littlefeather, the Native American civil rights activist and actress who famously turned down Marlon Brando’s Oscar in 1973, has passed away at the age of 75, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reported.

In 2018, she disclosed that she was battling breast cancer.

Littlefeather passed away at her home in Novato, California, surrounded by her loved ones, according to a statement released by her carer, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

After declining Marlon Brando’s trophy for best actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, she was booed offstage.

Sacheen littlefeather dies weeks after accepting academy's apology
Sacheen littlefeather dies weeks after accepting academy's apology

She had refused to accept the statuette from Roger Moore and proceeded to speak about the exploitation of Native Americans in the film business. She was asked to leave the stage after barely one minute of speaking.

She said that the film business then boycotted her for decades.

In a letter sent earlier this year, the Academy acknowledged that her looks had led to her being “professionally boycotted, personally insulted and tormented, and discriminated against for the past 50 years.”

Its president, David Rubin, expressed his “deepest apologies and profound admiration.”

Littlefeather received the apology during an Academy function organized in her honor in Los Angeles on September 17th.

As she took the platform to thunderous acclaim, she declared: “I accept this apology not only on behalf of me but also on behalf of the [Native American] nation as a whole. This apology needs to be heard by our nation.”

She recalled that at the ceremony in 1973, where she wore a traditional buckskin dress, the audience booed her as she began to speak, and some mocked her with the sound of a tomahawk and “Indian” chants.

Sacheen littlefeather dies weeks after accepting academy's apology

She stated that actor John Wayne was “ready to attack me” but was prevented by six security officers.

In The Godfather, Brando declined the Oscar for his legendary performance as Vito Corleone.

Later, he told US television that he believed it was a “wonderful opportunity” to talk to tens of millions of people since “nowhere in the history of the United States has the American Indian been able to have his voice heard.

Littlefeather disclosed in a 2021 interview with The Guardian that she had been undergoing chemotherapy for some time. Littlefeather has endured numerous major health challenges throughout her life. She compared cancer to a “full-time job.”

She looked forward to her death and stated: “I’m going somewhere else. I am heading to my ancestors’ world. I’m saying goodbye to you… I have earned the right to be authentic.”

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