The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, responsible for awarding the Oscars, publicly apologized for the way it treated indigenous actress Sacheen Littlefeather (“The Return of the Brave”) after she appeared on behalf of Marlon. Brando for rejecting the Oscar the actor won for his work in “The Godfather” (1972).
At the time, Littlefeather read a message from Brando highlighting, among other things, the Native American stereotypes perpetuated by the entertainment industry. The speech caused a stir and was considered a bad joke at the time. Now, the Academy has admitted that the act has resulted in Littlefeather being “professionally boycotted, personally assaulted, harassed and discriminated against for the past 50 years.”
Littlefeather herself had already stated this in a short documentary entitled “Sacheen” (2019). In short, you said that Brando himself praised his position at the Oscars, but then he abandoned it. According to Littlefeather, the controversy put her on the Hollywood blacklist and, as a result, she couldn’t find more work.
The apology was made through a letter signed by Academy President David Rubin and sent in June. In addition to disclosing the contents of the letter (which you can read below), the Academy has also scheduled a Littlefeather appearance at the Film Museum in September.
“As for the Academy’s apology to me, we natives are very patient people – it’s only been 50 years! We have to keep our sense of humor about it all the time. It’s our method of survival,” he said. , via a press release.
Littlefeather praised the initiative of the program at the Cinema Museum, which will be entirely developed by her and will take place on September 17th.
“I never thought I’d survive to witness the day of this show, featuring such wonderful native artists and Bird Runningwater, a television and film producer, who also spearheaded the Sundance Institute’s 20-year commitment to Native American filmmakers through workshops. of the Institute and the Sundance Film Festival. This is a dream come true. It is deeply encouraging to see how much has changed since I did not accept an Oscar 50 years ago. I am so proud of every single person who will appear on stage. “
Read David Rubin’s letter in full below.
“Dear Sacheen Piuma,
I am writing you a long letter today on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in humble recognition of your experience at the 45th Academy Awards.
When you took the stage in 1973 to refuse to accept an Oscar on Marlon Brando’s behalf, mentioning the film industry’s misrepresentation and mistreatment of Native Americans, you made a powerful statement that continues to remind us of the need for respect and the importance of the human being. dignity.
The abuse you suffered as a result of that statement was unreasonable and unwarranted. The emotional toll you have experienced and the cost to your career in our industry are irreparable. For a long time, the courage you showed was not recognized. For this, we extend our sincere apologies and our sincere admiration.
We cannot fulfill the Academy’s mission to “inspire the imagination and connect the world through film” without a commitment to facilitate broader representation and inclusion that reflects our diverse global population.
Today, nearly 50 years later, and with the leadership of the Academy’s Indigenous Alliance, we are steadfast in our commitment to ensure that indigenous voices – the original storytellers – contribute visibly and respected to the global film community. We are dedicated to promoting a more inclusive and respectful industry that harnesses a balance of art and activism to be a driving force for progress.
We hope you receive this letter in a spirit of reconciliation and in recognition of your essential role in our journey as an organization. You are forever respectfully rooted in our history.
With best regards,
President, Academy of Film Arts and Sciences “