Hollywood producer accused of lying about Native American heritage

 March 27, 2023

The New York Post reported this weekend that a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures’ Indigenous Alliance has been accused of lying about her heritage. 

According to an article published on Sunday, award-winning producer Heather Rae is facing allegations that her mother was not in fact Cherokee.

Group calls Rae a "Pretendian"

That claim is coming from the Tribal Alliance Against Frauds, which called her a "Pretendian" who has appropriated "real American Indian voices and perspectives."

The Post noted that Rae, who previously led the Sundance Institute’s Native American program, was embroiled last year in another controversy surrounding fake Native American status.

The Hollywood Reported stated in 2022 that Rae was publicly praised by the Academy for having helped put forward an apology to activist and actor Sacheen Littlefeather.

Littlefeather found herself blacklisted within the film industry following an incident in which Marlon Brando asked her to appear at the 1973 Academy Awards.

Littlefeather claimed to be Apache

Littlefeather announced that Brando was declining an Oscar for his role in "The Godfather" to protest the way Native Americans were being treated.

"My name is Sacheen Littlefeather. I'm Apache and I am president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee," she said.

"I'm representing Marlon Brando this evening and he has asked me to tell you in a very long speech, which I cannot share with you presently because of time but I will be glad to share with the press afterwards, that he very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award," Littlefeather went on to add.

Littlefeather's sisters admit that her father was Hispanic

"And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry – excuse me – and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee," she declared.

Yet shortly after her death last October, Fox News reported that siblings of Littlefeather, who was born Marie Louise Cruz, outed her as a fraud.

The network noted how Trudy Orlandi and Rosalind Cruz told the San Francisco Chronicle that their father was actually Hispanic and not Native American.

"It's a lie. … My father was who he was. His family came from Mexico, and my dad was born in Oxnard," Orlandi explained.

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