Sacheen Littlefeather reflects on her protest against Hollywood’s depiction of Native Americans
Nearly 50 years later, the Apache and Yaqui actor and activist said she would do it all again “in a heartbeat.”
“I did not do this totally for Marlon. I did not do this on my behalf,” she told the publication. “I did this for all Native people everywhere who suffered from racial prejudice and discrimination. I did it for all of those who were born under the umbrella of genocide, in the United States, and Canada, and for all of us who have suffered through extreme stereotypes which were not of our choosing.”
“(The FBI) went around Hollywood and told people not to hire me. If they did, they would shut their film production down,” she said. “In addition, other people were let on talk shows like Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, and other popular talk shows. They could go on there and talk about me, but I was never allowed to go on them and represent myself.”
Brando, unlike many in the industry, remained an ally. The two met through Brando’s interest in Indigenous issues and Littlefeather said she appreciated the actor’s “ability to see through the baloney and the prejudice.”
“He understood racial prejudice in a way that most people do not, and that was refreshing to me,” she added.