Today, in badass First Nations activists, we put a spotlight on Sacheen Littlefeather. Littlefeather participated in the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969, and four years later, in 1973, spoke on behalf of Marlon Brando on national television to reject an Academy Award. She said:
Hello. My name is Sacheen Littlefeather. I’m Apache and I am president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee.
I’m representing Marlon Brando this evening, and he has asked me to tell you in a very long speech which I cannot share with you presently, because of time, but I will be glad to share with the press afterwards, that he very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award.
And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry—excuse me—and on television in movie re-runs, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee.
I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon this evening, and that we will in the future, our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity.
Thank you on behalf of Marlon Brando.
Her speech received some applause, but also much disapproval and jeering from the audience. The producer threatened to have her removed off of the stage if she spoke for more than 45 seconds. After the airing, she released Brando’s 15-page statement to the press.
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