I got dressed in my traditional Indian regalia, but there was a man, he was the producer of the whole show. He took that speech away from me and he warned me very sternly. “I’ll give you 60 seconds or less. And if you go over that 60 seconds, I’ll have you arrested. I’ll have you put in handcuffs.”
- Sacheen Littlefeather in Reel Injun (2009), dir. Neil Diamond.
They were MAD, CONFUSED AND PRESSED that Marlon Brando would betray White Supremacy in this way.
To this very day, they are TWISTED over this.
And when Littlefeather got up there and READ THEM FOR FILTH, they GAGGED. For eons.
So I imagine there are people like me out there who’ve never even heard of Marlon Brando and are extremely confused over why this is important.
Marlon Brando was the Don in The Godfather, and in 1973, he was nominated for and won an Academy Award for it. However, he was also a huge Natives rights activist, and boycotted the ceremony because he felt that Hollywood’s depictions of Native Americans in the media led to the Wounded Knee Incident (which I was always taught as “the second massacre at Wounded Knee” but apparently that’s not the real name). He sent Sacheen Littlefeather, an Apache Native rights activist, in his stead. Wikipedia’s article on her explains the rest:
Brando had written a 15-page speech for Littlefeather to give at the ceremony, but when the producer met her backstage he threatened to physically remove her or have her arrested if she spoke on stage for more than 60 seconds. Her on-stage comments were therefore improvised. She then went backstage and read the entire speech to the press. In his autobiography My Word is My Bond, Roger Moore (who presented the award) claims he took the Oscar home with him and kept it in his possession until it was collected by an armed guard sent by the Academy.
That is what this gifset is about.
p.s- we can both remember what happened at Wounded Knee, standing in solidarity with the Indigenous people of this nation AND appreciate the accomplishments of the poc actors & film makers who made history on this night. This isn’t a battle for recognition between oppressed parties. Our histories and oppressions are inextricably linked & we need to do better at recognizing & supporting each other’s struggles.