14 November 1946 |
|Occupation||Civil rights activist|
Sacheen Littlefeather (born Marie Louise Cruz, November 14, 1946) is an American Indian civil rights activist. She is best known for presenting a speech on behalf of actor Marlon Brando, for his performance in The Godfather, when he boycotted the 45th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27, 1973, in protest of the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. She wore an Apache dress on the occasion.
Littlefeather was born in Salinas, California. Her ancestry is Apache, Yaqui, Pueblo on her father's side and her mother is of French, German, and Dutch descent. On her official website, she states her father was from the White Mountain Apache and Yaqui tribes from Arizona and that "Cruz" is her father's recognized tribe name.
Academy Awards controversy
Marlon Brando became involved with the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the early 1970s. In 1973, he decided to make a statement about the Wounded Knee incident and contacted AIM about providing a person to accept the Oscar for him. Dennis Banks and Russell Means picked Sacheen Littlefeather.
She represented Brando and his boycott of the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972), as a way to protest the ongoing siege at Wounded Knee and Hollywood's and television's misrepresentation of American Indians. Brando had written a 15-page speech for Littlefeather to give at the ceremony, but when the producer met her backstage he threatened to physically remove her or have her arrested if she spoke on stage for more than 60 seconds. Her on-stage comments were therefore improvised. She then went backstage and read the entire speech to the press. In his autobiography My Word Is My Bond, Roger Moore (who presented the award) claims he took the Oscar home with him and kept it in his possession until it was collected by an armed guard sent by the Academy.
- Reel Injun (2009)
- Shoot the Sun Down (1981)
- Winterhawk (1975)
- Johnny Firecloud (1975)
- Freebie and the Bean (1974) (uncredited)
- The Trial of Billy Jack (1974)
- The Laughing Policeman (1973) (uncredited)
- Il consigliori (1973)
- 45th Annual Academy Awards (TV) (1973) (Representing Marlon Brando to explain his boycotting of his Best Actor award for The Godfather)
- "Sacheen Littlefeather". Sacheen Littlefeather. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- "California Birth Index, 1905-1995 - Ancestry.com". Search.ancestry.com. 1905-07-01. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- Sacheen Cruz Littlefeather Biographical details
- James Stuart Olson. Historical dictionary of the 1970s. 1999, page 232
- personal interview in Neil Diamond's Reel Injun, (2009)
- "Oscar Watch; Oscar takes a bow for legacy of controversy", Stephen Schaefer, Boston Herald, March 16, 2003
- Sacheen Littlefeather at the Internet Movie Database
- That Unfinished Oscar Speech
- Text, Audio, Video of Sacheen Littlefeather's Oscar Speech for Marlon Brando
- Official website