Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather passes away at age 75

Sacheen Littlefeather passes away at age 75

Native American actress, Sacheen Littlefeather, who famously declined Marlon Brandon’s (another actor) best actor Oscar in 1973, has died. She was 75.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shared news of Littlefeather’s death on their official Twitter account.

Littlefeather’s family released a statement to USA TODAY stating that she died at home, in California, surrounded by loved ones. They added that she died peacefully from natural causes.

Littlefeather, a graduate of California State University in Hayward, appeared in films such as 1973’s “Counselor at Crime”. She studied acting at the American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco) before appearing in films such as “The Trial of Billy Jack”

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Oscars apologized to Marlon Brando who boycotted for decades because of Hollywood’s negative portrayal of Native Americans, behalf of which Marlon Brando rejected.

Littlefeather received a private apology in June, months before her representation to the Academy.

Littlefeather is the first woman of Native American heritage to speak onstage at the Academy Awards; wearing a buckskin dress and moccasins, she delivered a 60-second speech about Brando not being able to accept the award because of “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.”

The 1973 Oscars were held during the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Brando referenced this in their speech at the ceremony.

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