Nearly 50 years after Sacheen Littlefeather was booed on the Oscars stage for turning down an award on behalf of Marlon Brando in protest at Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans, she has received an apology from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, shared the organization on Monday.
Actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who is Apache and Yaqui, was taunted at the 1973 ceremony when she explained why Marlon Brando, who did not appear, was unable to collect his Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather.
She later claimed that security guards had to stop western star John Wayne from physically assaulting her.
“The insults you suffered because of that statement were misplaced and unjustified,” read the letter sent by then-President of the Academy David Rubin in June. “The emotional burden you have borne and the cost of your own career in our industry is beyond repair.”
“For too long the courage you have shown has gone unrecognized. For this we offer you our sincerest apologies and (we express to you) our sincere admiration.”
The Academy released this letter as it announced that Sacheen Littlefeather had been invited to speak at the Oscar Museum in Los Angeles on September 17th.
“We Indians are very patient people – that was only 50 years ago!” reacted Sacheen Littlefeather, now 75 years old, in a press release.
“We have to keep our sense of humor at all times. It’s our means of survival,” she added. “It warms my heart to see how so much has changed since I didn’t accept the Oscar 50 years ago.”
The museum, which opened last September, had pledged to address the film industry’s “troubled history”, whether it be the racism that tainted “Gone With the Wind” or recent controversies over the under-representation of women and minorities . He’s already talking about receiving Sacheen Littlefeather on that famous night in 1973.