As probably the most memorable figures within the historical past of the Oscars — Will Smith notwithstanding — Sacheen Littlefeather is nearly assured a spot within the In Memoriam section when the present airs Sunday, March 12, on ABC.
However her household would somewhat the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences simply forgot concerning the late actress.
Publicly recognizing her will proceed the “greatest blunder within the historical past of the Oscars,” Littlefeather’s sister Rosalind Cruz instructed The Submit Monday.
“They are going to [include her] as a result of they should hold protecting up for themselves,” Cruz, 65 stated of the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences. “They’re endorsing a Pretendian and hold pushing the lie and slander of our household they usually don’t care.”
Littlefeather, who died of breast cancer at 75 in October, established herself in Oscars lore in 1973 when she declined Marlon Brando’s Greatest Actor Oscar on his behalf. The “Godfather” actor chosen Littlefeather to take action in protest of Hollywood’s mistreatment of Native People in movie.
“I’m Apache and I’m president of the Nationwide Native American Affirmative Picture Committee,” she launched herself within the speech.
However simply weeks after her loss of life, Littlefeather’s sisters, Cruz and Trudy Orlandi, blasted the activist as an “ethnic fraud” who concocted her heritage to get forward in Hollywood.
Cruz stated she absolutely expects the award present to honor her late sister regardless of purported DNA proof debunking Littlefeather’s “lie” to 85 million Oscars viewers by claiming to Apache.
“What’s the Academy going to go? Are they going to proceed attempting to avoid wasting face and brush this all beneath the rug?” Cruz continued. “It wouldn’t shock me one bit.
“I don’t assume she must be talked about in any respect – interval. It’s fraudulent and has no bearing in reality,” she added of her well-known sister, born Marie Louise Cruz. (Their mother and father had been of Mexican and European heritage.) “The one factor she could possibly be talked about as is a lady who refused an Oscar for Marlon Brando who referred to as herself Sacheen Littlefeather, however was not of Native American heritage.”
In late October, Cruz detailed her family’s history to The Post, saying she watched in disbelief in 1973, from their grandparents’ residence in rural Salinas, California, as her older sister appeared on the Oscars.
“She lied,” Cruz instructed The Submit then.
Cruz and Orlandi additionally need the Academy Museum of Movement Footage to take away its tribute to Sacheen from its Los Angeles museum, the place Littlefeather’s Oscars speech is featured in an exhibit of the award ceremony’s most iconic moments.
“We request that the Academy instantly stop and desist from lionizing or perpetuating the parable of Sacheen Littlefeather,” reads a Feb. 22 letter from the sisters to the Academy, obtained by The Submit. “Any tribute to her have to be eliminated to guard our household and the general public from the continued sham.”
Cruz is now trying to find an legal professional to discover potential authorized motion. Each she and Orlandi endure on-line harassment within the wake of Sacheen being uncovered as having Mexican heritage, she stated.
“Now all her slander is coming again to us,” Cruz stated of Littlfeather. “I don’t actually care what they are saying about me, but it surely does have an effect on my sister [Orlandi, 72]. It’s a horror story to us, as a household.”
In June, months previous to Littlefeather’s loss of life, the Academy formally apologized to the actress, releasing a press release of reconciliation for her being blacklisted following the Oscars stunt.
An “Academy Visual History With Sacheen Littlefeather,” an expansive interview with Academy Museum Director Jacqueline Stewart, comprises a disclaimer.
“The content material of oral historical past interviews is private, experiential and interpretive and by its nature, depends on the recollections, perceptions and opinions of people,” the disclaimer reads. “Interviews shouldn’t be understood as statements of reality.”
Littlefeather was additionally honored by the Academy in September, together with with its “long-awaited assertion of apology” and stay Native American performances, video shows.
Messages in search of remark weren’t instantly returned Monday, however the Academy Museum beforehand acknowledged claims disputing the late actress’ background.
“The museum nor the Academy don’t touch upon the In Memoriam section upfront of the telecast,” an Academy spokesperson instructed The Submit. We respectfully decline to remark concerning the sisters’ assertions.”
In October, told The Post: “That is one thing each Littlefeather and the Native American group have addressed constantly for the reason that Nineteen Seventies. Native American and Indigenous identification is deeply advanced and layered, particularly in the USA, and these communities have lengthy battled erasure and misrepresentation. With the help of its Indigenous Alliance — an Academy member affinity group — the Academy acknowledges self-identification.”
The sisters’ Feb. 22 letter, which suggested the Academy to take the “warning severely,” didn’t immediate any response, Cruz stated Monday.
“No, after all not,” Cruz stated of whether or not she anticipated a reply. “These folks haven’t any ethical compass. It’s an insult to Native People, and the Academy is endorsing anyone they know is a fraud.”