For her part, Sacheen Littlefeather accepted the Academy’s formal apology for the negative reaction she received when representing Marlon Brando as the 45th Edition contestant Academy Awards 1973
An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather was presented at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles on Saturday to celebrate the actress and activist. At the event, Littlefeather, 75, spoke with producer and Indigenous Alliance co-chair Bird Runningwater.
She noted, “I receive this apology here,” in response to a letter of remorse written by then-President of the Academy David Rubin in June. It wasn’t just for me to hear tonight; I believe that all of our nations could use and deserve an apology.
She then called on the Indian members of the audience to stand up: Respect our people, honor one another and be proud that we are here today as survivors.
She said: “Please always remember after I’m gone that every time you stand up for your truth, you will keep my words and the voices of our nations and our people alive. As long as you call me Dingeen Littlefeather, I’ll stay that way. I appreciate it.
During Marlon Brando’s acceptance speech for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in The Godfather in 1973, Littlefeather spoke on his behalf to condemn the film industry’s abuse of Native Americans.
The protest was met with a range of reactions from the crowd, with some boos audible to onlookers at home. During her address, she said John Wayne tried to attack the stage and had to be pinned backstage. It’s been three decades, but Littlefeather can still picture the crowd’s faces in her head. Six men had to stop John Wayne backstage from picking me up and dragging me offstage.
Recalling that incident in an interview with Variety published Tuesday, Littlefeather said, “As I was speaking onstage, I heard a disturbance behind me.” While performing onstage, I later learned that six security guards had been holding Wayne , to prevent him from attacking me.