Remembering Indigenous Actress Sacheen Littlefeather, Who Was Mocked & Threatened at Oscars in 1973

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On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we remember the Indigenous actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who died last week at the age of 75, not long after she received an apology 50 years after she spoke at the Oscars in protest of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans. In 1973, she accepted an Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando, who boycotted the ceremony, only to face boos from the crowd, threats of physical violence from the actor John Wayne and mocking by Clint Eastwood. The speech derailed her acting career, but she never stopped speaking out. “It was critical for the psyche of all our relations to bring awareness to and interrupt the negative interpretation and representation of Native American people by the film television and sports industries,” said Littlefeather, reflecting on her speech at the Oscars in September, just three weeks before her death.