Oscars Apologizes to Actress Sacheen Littlefeather for Mistreatment After Nearly 50 Years

The Oscars has apologized to Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather for the mistreatment she faced at the 1973 awards ceremony.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a formal apology on Aug. 15 to Littlefeather after nearly 50 years when she rejected an award on behalf of actor Marlon Brando.

Littlefeather, then 26, briefly told the audience that the rejection was due to the misrepresentation of Native Americans by the United States film industry.

Littlefeather was booed off the stage and received personal backlash following her televised appearance.

“The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified. The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable,” former Academy President David Rubin wrote in a letter to Littlefeather

“For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration,” Rubin further wrote.

Littlefeather, now 75, told The Hollywood Reporter that she was “stunned” to receive the apology.

“I never thought I’d live to see the day I would be hearing this,” Littlefeather said.

The Academy will host an event to honor Littlefeather on Sept. 17.

At the event, Littlefeather will talk about her 1973 Oscars appearance and the future of indigenous representation on screen.

“I never thought I’d live to see the day for this program to take place… This is a dream come true. It is profoundly heartening to see how much has changed since I did not accept the Academy Award 50 years ago. I am so proud of each and every person who will appear on stage,” Littlefeather said in a statement.


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