Actress and activist Sachin Littlefeather has accepted an apology from the Academy Awards nearly 50 years after she was booed off stage.
In 1973, she took the stage wearing traditional deerskin clothing to accept an Academy Award on behalf of Marlon Brando, then gave a speech about the film industry’s mistreatment of Native Americans.
A minute after her performance, she was booed off the stage and boycotted by the film industry for decades.
However, earlier this year the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences named after apologized to Littlefeather in the letter and on Saturday at an event in her honor in Los Angeles, the 75-year-old was applauded when she took the stage.
“Well, I made it.” It took 50 years,” she said at an event called An Evening with Sachin Littlefeather, which featured Indian acts.
In 1973, Littlefeather was asked to go to the Academy Awards by her friend Marlon Brando, who won Best Actor for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather.
She said that when she began to speak, the audience booed and some jeered at her shrill sound of a tomahawk and shouts of “Indians.”
“Big John Wayne was ready to attack me. He was restrained by six guards,” she said.
At the weekend event, a letter of apology from the Academy was read: “When you stood on the Oscars stage in 1973 to not accept the Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando, in recognition of the misrepresentation and mistreatment of Native Americans by the film industry, you made a strong statement that continues to remind us of the need for respect and the importance of human dignity,” the message reads.
She replied: “I accept this apology not only for myself, but as a recognition not only for myself, but also for all our [Native American] nation. Our people need to hear this apology.”