Movies - TV
Sacheen Littlefeather, The Activist Who Declined Brando's Godfather Oscar, Dies at 75
By JOSHUA MEYER
Sacheen Littlefeather, the actress and Native American civil rights activist known for refusing the Best Actor Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando at the 45th Academy Awards, has died at 75. After issuing an apology two months prior for her treatment at the 1973 Oscars ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced her death from breast cancer on Sunday, October 2, 2022.
Littlefeather's activist work includes participating in the 1970 Occupation of Alcatraz effort to reclaim the land and raise awareness of violations of the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The activist's Oscar speech protesting "the treatment of American Indians" by the film industry was delivered under threat of arrest and stirred controversy, resulting in her becoming blacklisted in Hollywood.
Littlefeather recalls being met with mocking tomahawk chops and being shot at after leaving the ceremony, but she had no regret about her statements, as the Wounded Knee Occupation was going unreported. As Indigenous actors gain increased visibility in TV and film, the industry celebrates Littlefeather's life and the legacy of personal sacrifice she left behind with her activism.