Oscars: Apology Issued to Native American Activist Sacheen Littlefeather

Photo: Getty Images [via BBC]

The Facts

  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has issued an apology to Native American activist, Sacheen Littlefeather, almost five decades after she was booed and jeered at on the Oscars stage while declining an award on behalf of Marlon Brando.

  • Rather than accept the 1973 Oscar for best actor - for Brando's role in The Godfather - Littlefeather made a 60-second speech denouncing "the treatment of American Indians" in the film industry.

The Spin

Left narrative

Even though the emotional burden endured by Littlefeather, and the damage to her career are irreparable, her courage can truly be acknowledged. She stood up for Native American rights that continue to be violated by US authorities - this apology is a positive recognition of the progress that has been made, but reforms must go further to protect vulnerable minorities.

Right narrative

Littlefeather didn't deserve abuse, but developments like this shouldn't distract from the attempts to rewrite history concerning the treatment of Native Americans by media organizations. Though mistakes were made, significant exaggerations in cases such as the Canadian residential school burial grounds have resulted in the profligation of misrepresented versions of history in which the indigenous industry has a key financial stake.

Political split



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