For decades, Sacheen Littlefeather was known as one of the country’s most prominent Native American political activists.
Yet according to the Blaze noted, Littlefeather’s siblings have recently acknowledged that their late sister’s identity was based on a lie.
Littlefeather gave a famous Oscars speech
Littlefeather, whose birth name was Marie Louise Cruz, made headlines in 1973 after appearing at that year’s Academy Awards on behalf of longtime Hollywood star Marlon Brando.
She said that Brando would not be accepting the award as a form of protest against the popular portrayal of Native Americans along with the government’s handling of an illegal occupation at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
“My name is Sacheen Littlefeather. I’m Apache, and I am the president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee,” she told viewers.
Littlefeather added that Brando objected to “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry … and on television in movie re-runs, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee.”
“My name is Sacheen Littlefeather. I’m Apache, and I am the president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee,” Cruz said as she stood at the podium in a buckskin dress and moccasins.
Although Littlefeather was criticized at the time, then Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president David Rubin issued an apology to her in 2022, stating, “The abuse you endured because of [the Oscar speech] was unwarranted and unjustified.
“The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable,” Rubin continued, adding, “We offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration.”
Sisters admit that Littlefeather’s Native American persona was “a lie”
Littlefeather passed away roughly a month and a half after the apology was issued, and her death was followed by an New York Times article which exposed the fact that she was not of Native American descent.
Orlandi Cruz was one of Littlefeather’s sisters, and she told the San Francisco Chronicle that the Apache person was “a lie,” stressing, “My father was who he was. His family came from Mexico. And my dad was born in Oxnard.”
Rozalind Cruz was Littlefeather’s other sister and she agreed, saying, “It is a fraud … It’s disgusting to the heritage of the tribal people. And it’s just … insulting to my parents.”