Nearly 50 years after Sacheen Littlefeather stood on the Academy Awards stage on behalf of Marlon Brando to speak about the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood films, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences apologized to her for the abuse she endured.
In making the announcement, the Academy Museum shared a letter sent June 18 to Littlefeather by David Rubin, academy president, about the iconic Oscar moment. Rubin called Littlefeather's speech "a powerful statement that continues to remind us of the necessity of respect and the importance of human dignity."
"The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified," wrote Rubin. "The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration."
Littlefeather, in a statement, said it is "profoundly heartening to see how much has changed since I did not accept the Academy Award 50 years ago."
"Regarding the Academy's apology to me, we Indians are very patient people -- it's only been 50 years!" said Littlefeather. "We need to keep our sense of humour about this at all times. It's our method of survival."