Sacheen Littlefeather: Fans pay tribute to ‘brave’ actor and activist who declined Marlon Brando’s Oscar

Fans of Sacheen Littlefeather are paying tribute to her after her death.

The Native American actor known for declining the Best Actor Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brandodied on Sunday (2 October).

The news was announced by the Academy of Motion Pictures, who wrote on Twitter: “Sacheen Littlefeather, Native American civil rights activist who famously declined Marlon Brando’s 1973 Best Actor Academy Award, dies at 75.”

Following the news of her death, fans and members of the film industry have paid tribute.

Writer Hansraj Meena wrote: “RIP Sacheen Littlefeather. [She] was an Indigenous activist who famously rejected the Oscar for Best Actor in 1973 on behalf of Marlon Brando in protest against the mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples in Hollywood and to bring attention to the Wounded Knee Occupation.”

Another admirer wrote: “RIP, Sacheen Littlefeather. Honour the bravery she showed calling out the industry’s racist treatment of Native Americans at an event she knew she would be received with derision and anger.”

Writer Joey Clift tweeted: “When I talk about how our current Native storytelling movement in Hollywood is built on the shoulders of activists fighting tirelessly for decades for Native people to finally get our day in the sun, I’m talking about Sacheen Littlefeather. RIP.”

“Amazing woman who stood up for Indigenous rights and dignity,” another fan said.

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Littlefeather first announced she had been diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer in a 2021 Facebook post.

In September, at a ceremony titled “An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather”, she told the crowd: “I’m crossing over soon to the spirit world/ And you know, I’m not afraid to die. Because we come from a we/us/our society. We don’t come from a me/I/myself society. And we learn to give away from a very young age. When we are honoured, we give.”