Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American activist who famously declined Marlon Brando’s Oscar for The Godfather, died at 75. The Native American activist passed away this Sunday, just two months after the Academy formally apologised for her mistreatment at the 1973 Academy Awards. Here’s everything you need to know about the actor.
How did Sacheen Littlefeather die ?And What Was his cause of death
Sacheen Littlefeather, the activist for Native Americans who declined Marlon Brando’s Oscar for “The Godfather” on his behalf at the 1973 Academy Awards, died Sunday at 75, the Academy of Motion Pictures said. She had been suffering from breast cancer. Reports from the Hollywood Reporter cited a caretaker who said she died at noon, Sunday in her Northern California home, surrounded by her loved ones.
Who was Sacheen Littlefeather?
Sacheen Littlefeather, who is also known as Sacheen Littlefeather-Mills, was born in 1946 in the Navajo Nation of Arizona. She is an activist for Native American rights and has been working for these causes since she was a teenager.
The daughter of an Apache and Yaqui father and a white mother – her mother’s mental illness and her father’s drinking problems meant she was badly neglected, so at the age of 3 she was taken away by her grandparents and raised more comfortably. As a small child, she watched her father beating up her mother. Nowadays you might say “I think that made me who I am.”
Littlefeather began visiting reservations in Arizona when she was 17 after her father had died. “I really had a breakthrough, with other urban Indian people, getting back into our traditions, our heritage. The old people who came from different reservations were so excited to meet us and welcome us that they would say ‘You look like you could be in an old photograph again. It was wonderful.”
By her early 20s, Littlefeather was working at a San Francisco radio station and heading up a local affirmative action committee for Native Americans. She also studied the representation of Native Americans on-screen—and in sports. When she heard Marlon Brando speaking about native rights.
She has been an activist since the age of 14 when she helped form the American Indian Movement (AIM). In 1973, she became a member of that organization’s national executive board, which led to her being imprisoned on several occasions. When she was released from jail in 1980, Littlefeather founded the National Indian Women’s Hall of Fame Foundation to honour outstanding women leaders of Native American tribes.
What Happened at The Oscar Award Night?
Littlefeather was accompanied by Brando’s secretary, Alice Marchak. She reached the stage wearing an Apache buckskin dress and turned down the Oscar trophy Moore offered her. and read this: “Hello. My name is Sacheen Littlefeather. I’m Apache and I am president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee.
I’m representing Marlon Brando this evening and he has asked me to tell you in a very long speech which I cannot share with you at this time, because of the short time limit but I will gladly share it with the press after the session. He cannot accept it today.
From movies to TV re-runs, there has been widespread mishandling of American Indian images. I want to make it clear that these criticisms are not a coincidence, but stem from my concern for the way this population is treated by the film and television industry. Our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity.
It was later revealed that John Wayne was waiting in the wings and had to be restrained by six security guards to prevent him from forcing her off stage. The original speech written by Brando was 739-word but the awards ceremony’s team instructed Littlefeather should keep it short to 60 seconds. She later read the full speech at the press conference.
The Academy Apologised to Sacheen Littlefeather who Declined Marlon Brando’s Oscar
Sacheen Littlefeather, Native American civil rights activist who famously declined Marlon Brando’s 1973 Best Actor Academy Award, dies at 75. pic.twitter.com/OlpsoItlCw— The Academy (@TheAcademy) October 3, 2022
On Sept. 17, she met with Academy officials in person at their museum in Los Angeles to accept the apology on behalf of her late father—who originally declined it 42 years ago—and deliver an emotional speech.It has been a long time coming, but the Academy is finally taking steps toward inclusion. As Littlefeather told the publications, she was stunned by this news: “I never thought I’d see it or experience it.”