The Academy Awards have apologised to Sacheen Littlefeather over her experience at the 1973 ceremony where she refused Marlon Brando’s Oscar.
The actress took to the Oscar’s stage on behalf of Marlon Brando in the early 70s where she refused the Academy Award due to the mistreatment and misrepresentation of Indigenous Americans in the film industry.
“The reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry –and on television in movie re-runs, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee,” she said in her speech.
“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.”
Former Academy President David Rubin offered his apology in June detailing that her bravery to speak out against injustice cost her abuse that was completely unwarranted.
“You made a powerful statement that continues to remind us of the necessity of respect and the importance of human dignity,” he said.
“The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration.”
Ms Littlefeather who is now 75 years old said it was “profoundly heartening” to see how things have changed in the past 50 years since her 60-second speech.
“Regarding the Academy’s apology to me, we Indians are very patient people—it’s only been 50 years! We need to keep our sense of humour about this at all times. It’s our method of survival,” said Littlefeather.
An event has been set up for September 17 in which the Academy will sit down with Ms Littlefeather for an evening of conversation, healing, and celebration.