Sacheen Littlefeather’s sister says including her in Oscar’s In Memoriam would ‘keep pushing the lie’

A month after Littlefeather’s death, her sisters claimed she had lied about her Native American ancestry

Inga Parkel
Tuesday 07 March 2023 21:58 GMT
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Littlefeather booed as she speaks on behalf of Marlon Brando at 1973 Oscars

Sacheen Littlefeather’s sisters have spoken out against the Oscars, saying that including Littlefeather in its 2023 In Memoriam segment would perpetuate the Academy’s “biggest blunder”.

Littlefeather, who died in October 2022, was famously known for rejecting the Best Actor statuette intended for Marlon Brando on live TV at the 1973 Oscars.

At the time, she gave a speech condemning the film industry’s poor representation of Native American people, which was met with boos and little audience support.

Nearly 50 years after the incident, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued an apology to Littlefeather.

Shortly after she died from breast cancer at 75, the San Francisco Chronicle published a bombshell report in the outlet’s opinion section with interviews from Littlefeather’s biological sisters, alleging that her claims of Native American ancestry were “lies”.

Now, in a new interview with the New York Post, her sister Rosaline Cruz has argued that honouring Littlefeather in Sunday (12 March) night’s In Memoriam section, would continue the “biggest blunder in the history of the Oscars”.

At each ceremony, the Oscars remember significant industry figures who have died in the last year.

Sacheen Littlefeater

“They will [include her] because they need to keep covering up for themselves,” Cruz predicted. “They’re endorsing a Pretendian and keep pushing the lie and slander of our family and they don’t care.”

The Academy’s Los Angeles museum features Littlefeather’s Oscars speech in an exhibit dedicated to the award ceremony’s most iconic speeches.

In February, Cruz and her sister Trudy Orlandi, sent the Academy a letter requesting it remove any tribute to Littlefeather “to protect our family and the public from the continued shame”.

“We request that the Academy immediately cease and desist from lionising or perpetuating the myth of Sacheen Littlefeather,” they wrote in a letter, seen by The Post.

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