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Academy Museum Announces An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather

Academy Museum Announces An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather

The event will take place on September 17, 2022. 

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced TODAY An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather, a very special program of conversation, reflection, healing, and celebration with Sacheen Littlefeather (Apache/Yaqui/AZ) on September 17, 2022.

In 1973, Sacheen Littlefeather, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, became the first Native woman to stand onstage at the Academy Awards® ceremony, on behalf of Marlon Brando. At his request, Littlefeather did not accept Brando's Best Actor award for The Godfather and gave a passionate 60-second speech regarding the stereotypes of Native Americans in the entertainment industry. She also brought attention to the 1973 Wounded Knee protest in South Dakota. This moment resulted in her being professionally boycotted, personally attacked and harassed, and discriminated against for the last 50 years.

Littlefeather's speech is highlighted in the museum's Academy Awards History gallery, and she was interviewed this spring by Jacqueline Stewart, Director and President of the Academy Museum, for the Academy Museum Podcast episode "Marlon Brando Cannot Accept this Very Generous Award" about the 1973 Oscars®, the Academy's A.frame article , and a Visual History as part of the Academy's Oral History Projects (to be released in September 2022). In June, Littlefeather was presented with a statement of apology, signed by former Academy President David Rubin. The apology is available in full below.

"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 humor about this at all times. It's our method of survival," said Littlefeather.

"I never thought I'd live to see the day for this program to take place, featuring such wonderful Native performers and Bird Runningwater, a television and film producer who also guided the Sundance Institute's commitment to Indigenous filmmakers for twenty years through the Institute's Labs and Sundance Film Festival. 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."

Jacqueline Stewart, Director and President of the Academy Museum, said, "We are delighted and humbled that Sacheen has so generously chosen to engage with the museum and Academy to reflect upon her trying experience at the 1973 Academy Awards. Our thanks go out to Bird Runningwater and Heather Rae for helping us foster our cherished relationship with Sacheen. We hope our event on September 17 offers Sacheen and our audiences a moment of collective healing and a new path forward."

An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather will encourage reflection on the historic evening in 1973 and focus on a future founded on healing and celebration. The event, programmed by Sacheen Littlefeather and produced by Academy Museum Vice President of Education and Public Engagement Amy Homma, is part of the museum's ongoing dedication to creating programs and exhibitions in partnership with film artists and communities that illuminate the entertainment industry's past and can pave the way for meaningful change in its future.

The evening's program will include a land acknowledgement courtesy of Virginia Carmelo (Tongva/So. CA), a reading of the Academy's letter of apology, Native American Indian performances, and a conversation between Littlefeather and Academy Member, producer, and co-chair of the Academy's Indigenous Alliance Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache/NM).

Additional performers and speakers will include Academy CEO Bill Kramer, traditional vocalist and singer Calina Lawrence (Suquamish/WA), former Academy President David Rubin and incoming Academy President Janet Yang, emcee Earl Neconie (Kiowa/OK), emcee Jacqueline Stewart, Assemblymember James Ramos (Serrano/Cahuilla/So. CA), The San Manuel Bird Singers (San Manuel/CA), Michael Bellanger (Ojibiway/MN & Kickapoo/OK) and the All Nation Singers and Dancers, and Steve Bohay (Kiowa/OK) and the Sooner Nation Singers and Dancers.

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