Two weeks ago, the Academy held another party at its new museum in Los Angeles to honor Littlefeather and publicly apologize for her treatment at the Academy Awards. The actress was booed in 1973 – the first version to be broadcast live worldwide – when she refused to accept a figurine of Marlon Brando for her role in the film. The Godfather. Brando had asked Littlefeather, a friend of his, not to accept the award in protest of the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry. After years of libel and slander, according to Brando, now is the time to deliver something.
But the audience in the room thought otherwise. When Littlefeather gave her speech, he was greeted with boos. “I went on as a proud Native American woman, with dignity, courage, grace and humility,” Little Feather said at the museum ceremony. “I knew I had to tell the truth. Some people could accept it. And some people couldn’t.”
Littlefeather was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the first guild of film actors established in 1933. She has stated several times that she had difficulty getting a job due to her ancestry. In a tweet announcing her death, the academy quoted Little Feather as saying: “When I’m gone, always remember that when you stand up for your truth, you preserve my voice and the voices of our nations and peoples.”
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