With permission from navajo.. I am sharing this great 'Oscar'Memory' .. as it seems so tied to practically our entire embarassing US history,... from landing at Plymouth Rock to the Jay Leno show and Elizabeth Warren's election, the Keystone XL pipeline, IdleNoMore and now right up to the latest Republican modifications to the Violence Against Women's Act!
Navajo writes in today's NEW DAY blog.
The Academy Awards are this evening. Do you watch it? Do you care? If you don't, do you go to movies? About ten years ago I wouldn't have missed it. I needed to watch it and the pre-shows for the evening gowns since I was in the fashion business. I've not watched it the last several years. I find it's easier to catch the highlights on the innertubes the next day to save time. For fun, what is your favorite Oscar moment. Mine, of course, is when Sacheen Littlefeather accepted the Best Actor award for Marlon Brando in the Godfather in 1973.
"Hello.e is Sasheen Littlefeather. I’m Apache and I am president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee. I’m representing Marlin 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. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry -- excuse me -- and on television in movie re-runs, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee. I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon this evening, and that we will in the future, our hearts and our understandings will meet with love and generosity. Thank you on behalf of Marlon Brando."
Marlon Brando became involved with the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the early 1970s. In 1973, he decided to make a statement about the Wounded Knee incident and contacted AIM about providing a person to accept the Oscar for him. Dennis Banks and Russell Means picked Sacheen Littlefeather.She also reported later in a documentary, Reel Injun that John Wayne was backstage and had to be held back from storming the stage and dragging her off..
She represented Brando and his boycott of the Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather (1972), as a way to protest the ongoing siege at Wounded Knee and Hollywood's and television's misrepresentation of American Indians. Brando had handwritten a speech for Littlefeather to give at the ceremony, but when the producer met her backstage he threatened to physically remove her or have her arrested if she spoke on stage for more than 60 seconds. Her on-stage comments were therefore improvised. She then went backstage and read the entire speech to the press.
Marlon Brando had asked Littlefeather, then a budding actress, to attend the Academy Awards and refuse the Oscar for him to protest the way the film industry perpetuated harmful stereotypes of Native Americans, and to show his solidarity with American Indian activists who were at that moment engaged in an armed battle with the FBI at Wounded Knee.
After her Oscar appearence Littlefeather says she was immediately blacklisted in Hollywood. She received death threats and was lied about in the media, with some reports claiming, for example, that her Native dress for the Oscars event was rented. (It was her Northern Traditional pow wow dance outfit.)
“I found out from friends in the industry that they had been visited by FBI agents right after the Academy Awards who had threatened to put them out of business if they hired me. In those days [the FBI] planted a lot of seeds in the media,” she says, referring to the FBI’s efforts to infiltrate many of the social movements of the day in divide and conquer tactics to discredit and destroy civil rights groups like the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement.
Is all this just ancient history?
Hardly, Ms. Littlefeather is apparently well remembered by many.
Here her presentation was discussed on the Aug. 27, 2012 Jay Leno Show... with none other than FOX pundit Dennis Miller.
Here as updated from ONTD (OhNoTheyDidn't) blog of Nov. 24, 2012
Sacheen Littlefeather and Her Role in Marlon Brando’s Oscar Refusal 0
History was made in 1973 when Marlon Brando declined to accept the best actor Oscar for his role in The Godfather to protest the treatment of American Indians. His demurral, which was delivered on stage by a young Native American activist named Sacheen Littlefeather, generated intense controversy and criticism throughout the country. Almost 40 years later, some in Hollywood still seem to hold a grudge.More from the blog: Sacheen Littlefeather was born Marie Cruz in Salinas, California. She was raised primarily by her mother’s Caucasian family, but her father was a full-blood Indian of mixed White Mountain Apache and Yaqui descent. In a 2010 interview for Native American Times, Littlefeather said she began exploring her Native identity in depth when she was in college at California State University at Hayward. She became involved in the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland and from there joined the Alcatraz Island occupation where she connected with important Native American leaders like Wilma Mankiller, John Trudell and Anthony Garcia, and was mentored by Adam Fortunate Eagle and Don Patterson, tribal president of the Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma.
The subject came up on the August 27 airing of NBC’s Tonight Show while host Jay Leno was talking to comic and FOX-friendly pundit Dennis Miller. The conversation turned to Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren:
Miller: Elizabeth Warren? Is that the chick that says she’s an Indian?
Leno [chuckling]: Well, yeah, no.
Miller: She’s about as much Indian as that stripper chick Brando sent to pick up his Oscar for The Godfather, all right?
Leno: Check that reference! Hang on, you mean Shawsheen [sic] Littlefeather?
Miller [audience laughter]: Sacheen Littlefeather. Of course I remember!
Leno: 1971 was that? Oh my God!
Miller: You know, I sent the Warren campaign a donation today, but just to piss her off I sent it in beads.
Miller’s comments—and the laughing audience—are glaring reminders that ugly Native American stereotypes are still pervasive. A few weeks after Miller’s appearance with Leno, staffers for Senator Scott Brown, Warren’s opponent, were taped doing tomahawk chops and war whoops as they mocked her campaign. Racial slurs that deny a person’s Native American heritage are a peculiar type of racism, and all the better when the target is a woman, especially one as high profile as Elizabeth Warren or Sacheen Littlefeather.
A longtime resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Littlefeather is a highly respected member of the Native American community. She has served as head woman dancer at many pow wows and is known for her work in health-care education in the Native community. Reference to her being a 'stripper' comes from:
The biggest lie told by the media was that she was not an Indian, a misconception that is still surprisingly persistent today, as demonstrated by the Leno-Miller exchange. Miller’s reference to her as a “stripper” was a further attempt to discredit her, a deliberate exaggeration that probably referenced a photo shoot she had done for Playboy the year before her appearance on the Academy Awards. “I am not a stripper,” she says. “People pay me to keep my clothes on! [laughing] I’m 65 years old and an elder now, going to the other side soon. I was young and dumb [when I did the photo shoot].… It was shot in 1972, with nine other Indian women whose names I won’t disclose to protect their privacy.” The spread, which was to have been called “10 Little Indians,” was killed by Playboy editors because of the Wounded Knee confrontation. But a year later the magazine ran the shots of Littlefeather.Blog author Hera Bearra notes:
Most recently, she appeared in the award-winning film Reel Injun, where she talked about her Academy Awards experience and Marlon Brando’s desire to publicize what he saw as unfair treatment of American Indians. In the film, Russell Means recalls being at Wounded Knee and watching the Academy Awards: “We don’t believe we’re going to get out of there alive and the morale is down low, and Marlon Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather totally uplifted our lives.”I do not watch Jay Leno, but do remember watching a commentary on Elizabeth Warren's opponent's attempt at a 'Hatchet' Job. As we all know, Elizabeth 'survived' it, and aren't we all proud of our new 'Senior' Senator from Massachusetts?! I know I am.
The Leno-Miller segment about Littlefeather mostly escaped the notice of the media, but that’s partly because she deliberately delayed responding to it. She is surviving a battle with breast cancer just this year, having only recently been officially declared in remission. “Having cancer has been the fight of my life. Staring death in the face changes your life,” she says. “Late-night TV has stooped to racism and bigotry. [Miller and Leno] came off as bitter, old white farts. Would they have gotten away with it if they had referred to Oprah as Aunt Jemima?”
So now ladies, and gents who support them, we are right back to OSCAR night.
But next week, we are right back into the fray of trying to get a reaffirmation of the VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMENS ACT from our 113th Congress ... Is all going well?
No... In This Week's News (Feb 22, 2013) VAWA 2013: House GOP Unveils Bill With No LGBT Protections, Modified Tribal Provision
Congress failed to reauthorize VAWA last year for the first time since the law's inception in 1994, due in large part to House Republican opposition to the tribal provision. The fact that the House bill includes some kind of tribal provision reflects some movement by GOP leaders toward a bill that can pick up broader support. But even some House Republicans who have advocated for a compromise on the tribal piece say the bill needs to go further on that front..... we'll see won't we.
"The House VAWA bill introduced today represents considerable progress in the right direction for protecting Native women,"
(Under the Senate bill, tribal courts would gain new authority to prosecute non-Native American men who abuse Native American women on reservations. The House bill also grants that new authority -- a major change from the bill House Republicans put forward in the last Congress -- but adds a caveat that would allow those people to move their case to a federal court if they feel their constitutional rights aren't being upheld.)
said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), one of two Native Americans in Congress. "However, the legislation still falls short in providing tribes the authority they need to secure their territory and protect their citizens. I intend to offer an amendment to address these shortcomings and I'm hopeful that the final bill will include stronger tribal protections."