Sacheen Littlefeather was an American actress, model, and Native American civil rights activist. Littlefeather was born to a Native American (Apache and Yaqui) father and a White mother. During the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz, she became involved in the Native American activist community.
Littlefeather represented Marlon Brando at the 45th Academy Awards in 1973, where she—on Brando's behalf—declined the Best Actor award that he won for his performance in The Godfather. The favorite to win, Brando boycotted the ceremony as a protest against Hollywood's portrayal of Native Americans and to draw attention to the standoff at Wounded Knee. During her speech, the audience's response to Brando's boycotting was divided between booing and applause.
After the Academy Award speech, Littlefeather worked in hospice care. She continued her activism for health-related and Native American issues, and produced films about Native Americans. In June 2022, the Academy sent Littlefeather a statement of apology that was read in full at An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather on September 17.
Littlefeather died on October 2, 2022, at the age of 75, a month before her 76th birthday.
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