The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has apologised to Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native-American activist who endured abuse when she took a stand in the 1970s against anti-Indigenous racism in the United States film industry.
The US film academy said in a statement on Monday that it will host Littlefeather, now 75, for an evening of conversation and healing on September 17.
Littlefeather received a formal letter of apology from the head of the academy in June, nearly 50 years after taking the stage at the 1973 Oscar awards ceremony to denounce stereotypical portrayals of Native Americans in film.
She became the target of racist abuse after she announced that actor Marlon Brando would not accept an award for his performance in “The Godfather” in protest of the poor treatment that Native Americans received in the film industry.
“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,” then-Academy President David Rubin said in the letter, which was released on Monday.
“This is a dream come true,” Littlefeather said in the statement shared by the academy. “It is profoundly heartening to see how much has changed since I did not accept the Academy Award 50 years ago.”
The 1973 Oscars took place during a period of mounting Indigenous activism in the US, including the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota in protest of the country’s legacy of anti-Indigenous violence and discrimination.