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Miscellaneous > Sacheen Littlefeather, her speech, 1973, Marlon Brando, The Godfather

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message 1: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments I think nearly all of us know what I am talking about...

"and especially with recent happenings at Wounded Knee"


If not:
Marlon Brando asked Sacheen Littlefeather to refuse the Oscar for Best Actor in the movie The Godfather in 1973 on his behalf.

He prepared a speech that was rather lengthy, and was too long to be presented at the Academy Awards. The reason for this being was, that the director allowed her only 60 seconds to speak, and if she would go over-time, she would be arrested on-stage.
Yesterday, for the FIRST TIME, Sacheen Littlefeather read the whole speech aloud and really, that speech gives goosebumps.

You can listen to the whole episode of Native Trailblazers here:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nativetr...


message 2: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments It was a good speech, she should have been allowed to read it, not only were they trying to silence her but Marlon Brando as well.


message 3: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments ~Krystal wrote: "It was a good speech, she should have been allowed to read it, not only were they trying to silence her but Marlon Brando as well."

Yes, she should have been. It just shows the racism in the US.


message 4: by Robert (last edited Mar 24, 2018 11:51AM) (new)

Robert Smart | 347 comments I wish I was able to hear it last night live instead of listening to the replay today but the whole interview was great.

To have been 26 years old and having been threatened with “on stage” hand cuffing and arrest by federal agents if her speech went over 60 seconds. Then being booed while speaking and having John Wayne being physically restarained from going at her while she was on stage.

That is all just incredible. The amount of stregnth and courage that must have taken for her to stand up on stage and deliver that message is unbelievable.

Anyone who has not heard the speech and the background behind it and also the entire speech that was written by Marlon Brando that never got to be spoken on stage needs to seriously listen to the episode.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nativetr...


message 5: by Gerd (last edited Mar 24, 2018 12:53PM) (new)

Gerd | 428 comments ~Krystal wrote: "...not only were they trying to silence her but Marlon Brando as well."

RE Brando, just saw this:
https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anna-...

The fact that they even wanted to give him an Oscar is an outrage in itself reading that. :/


message 6: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Gerd wrote: "~Krystal wrote: "...not only were they trying to silence her but Marlon Brando as well."

RE Brando, just saw this:
https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anna-...

..."


How do you know he was actually aware of her not knowing. Like maybe he assumed that scene was also in her script?


message 7: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments ~Krystal wrote: "How do you know he was actually aware of her not knowing. Like maybe he assumed that scene was also in her script? ..."

Doesn't sound likely.
Such a sensitive scene wouldn't be done without talking it over beforehand if you had any work ethics and respect for your collegue.


message 8: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Gerd wrote: "~Krystal wrote: "How do you know he was actually aware of her not knowing. Like maybe he assumed that scene was also in her script? ..."

Doesn't sound likely.
Such a sensitive scene wouldn't be do..."



My husband works as a scriptwriter and usually, all the actors get the same script so it's not a stretch to think that maybe he didn't actually know. Until I have 100% proof that he was a party to such an act and had knowledge of what the director was doing, I'm not going to crucify him.


message 9: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Emma wrote: "Thanks for sharing! This is such a great speech."

I still think that in the end the short 60 seconds speech was more effective. With the line "and especially with recent happenings at Wounded Knee" the international media came to this little village in South Dakota, I doubt they would have with the lengthy speech. That one was too general for that I think.

I just find it a disgrace that it took 45 years until she was asked if she wants to read it on air.


message 10: by Pam (last edited Mar 26, 2018 10:09AM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Was the Oscars ceremony the place to talk about this?

- Those in favor say:
Yes! You have a platform, use it. Bring it the attention it deserves.

But are you agreeing with that because it's a cause you like in this instance?

- Those against say:
No! This speech had nothing to do with the reason to gather. A publicity stunt, and who can trust that?

Please note this comment isn't about Littlefeather, her treatment, nor the subject. But rather taking a non-political event and politicising it.


message 11: by Robert (last edited Mar 27, 2018 09:15AM) (new)

Robert Smart | 347 comments Pam wrote: "Was the Oscars ceremony the place to talk about this?

- Those in favor say:
Yes! You have a platform, use it. Bring it the attention it deserves.

But are you agreeing with that because it's a ca..."



In this particular instance if she hadn’t have done that, then the publicity it recieved would not have saved the lives of many people who would have been overrun. The press arrived do to her speech and many lives were saved.

Yes, I agree that the intended topic platform was twisted and politicized. The same thing continues to be done today. With some instances where if things were not stated on that particular platform important issues may never see the light of day. Is it wrong in certain situations to use that platform and politicize it to advance whatever you deem as an important issue? Possibly. Does the ends justify the means? No, not always. Though in this particular instance I believe that it did.


message 12: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Pam wrote: "Was the Oscars ceremony the place to talk about this?

- Those in favor say:
Yes! You have a platform, use it. Bring it the attention it deserves.

But are you agreeing with that because it's a ca..."



I think that using the Oscars for this particular platform is absolutely ok and many people even today use it as such because it is televised and millions of people watch it, Actors should be using their fame for good and to give a narrative and a voice to those issues where people more vulnerable than they are can't.


message 13: by Gerd (last edited Mar 28, 2018 10:37AM) (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Pam wrote: "No! This speech had nothing to do with the reason to gather. A publicity stunt, and who can trust that?

Ah, but the Oscars is in itself nothing but a clever conceived publicity stunt.


Please note this comment isn't about Littlefeather, her treatment, nor the subject. But rather taking a non-political event and politicising it."

Only it could be argued that the Oscars never where a strictly non-political event to begin with.
The exclusion of minorities, the decision which movies to accolade, the set-up of those who decide on these things... it's all politics.


message 14: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
You all are making good points. I do not disagree.

My one caveat is that by allowing a group to do this - no matter how noble their intentions - you open it up for others to do the same thing.

You allow someone to say whatever they want in situations that do not warrant that discussion and you get people like Donald Trump able to talk about whatever he wants because well darnit he has the microphone.

So where is the line? Did Littlefeather expose a need for a line or did she cross it?


message 15: by Pam (last edited Mar 28, 2018 01:11PM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
And I would also like to ask: Why didn't Marlon do it?

Why didn't Marlon stand up and refuse the award? Why send in a scarifical lamb that would:
- No only destroy her chance of her having a future in hollywood
- Incite hate speech against her as an Indian and perpetuate the dumb native stereotype?
- Incite hate speech against her as a woman

If this was such a near and dear cause to Marlon, and if he was using his platform to take a stand why didn't he show up? And why did he send in a young woman to do so instead of a elder statesmen?

We'll say he is protesting. I say he is a coward. Who let someone else get dragged down. I would also say that by not doing it himself by sending in Littlefeather he perpetuated more hate than if he went himself and then went to protest at Wounded Knee after.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com...


message 16: by Robert (new)

Robert Smart | 347 comments Pam wrote: "And I would also like to ask: Why didn't Marlon do it?

Why didn't Marlon stand up and refuse the award? Why send in a scarifical lamb that would:
- No only destroy her chance of her having a futur..."


I would say that I agree and disagree on that. Should Brando have refused the award himself? Possibly.

Was he on a set somewhere making a film and couldn’t leave?

Was he a coward who couldn’t stand up for what he believed in?

Did they know or were they able to forsee that Sacheen Littlefeather was going to be Blacklisted and treated in that way?

Who knows! I can’t answer those questions.

Though I will say that personally I feel that it was probably more powerful for a young Native Woman to make a speech about what was happening to indigenous people than an actor who has no roots in the topic what so ever, standing on a stage touting his or her will or belief on a topic because it was their “flavor of the month” so to speak.

Yes she was the sacrificial lamb but again through her sacrifice it shed light on an atrocity that had none prior.


message 17: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "Yes she was the sacrificial lamb but again through her sacrifice it shed light on an atrocity that had none prior.."

Thank you Robert. I appreciate you working this through with me.

I've looked into this a little bit more and according to Littlefeather's wiki, Brando didn't pick her to deliver the message.

"In early 1973, he [Brando] contacted A.I.M. [American Indian Movement ] about providing a person to accept an Oscar on his behalf. Aboriginal American leaders, Dennis Banks and Russell Means, picked Sacheen Littlefeather to collect the award."

So we don't have a white, 40+ something man, at the top of his power choosing a young, female, poc. We have tribal leaders doing it.

I'm still a wee bit concerned about the power imbalance present. It was still a young woman who bore the brunt of the backlash. Not Brando, not AIM.


message 18: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Pam wrote: "Robert wrote: "Yes she was the sacrificial lamb but again through her sacrifice it shed light on an atrocity that had none prior.."

Thank you Robert. I appreciate you working this through with me...."


I still think that she was the best choice, as she touched people the most, both as an Apache and as a young woman.


message 19: by Krystal (last edited Mar 29, 2018 11:36AM) (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Pam wrote: "Robert wrote: "Yes she was the sacrificial lamb but again through her sacrifice it shed light on an atrocity that had none prior.."

Thank you Robert. I appreciate you working this through with me...."


The reason that the elders chose her was that they felt she would have made the most impact on stage than say a 40-year-old Native American Male or Chief. In Indigenous cultures, women are held in much higher standing than men are because they are the bringers of new life, and this was a way of her people and the AIM of bringing new life into an already tough and dismissive situation of the white peoples of the time.


message 20: by Pam (last edited Mar 29, 2018 12:45PM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
~Krystal wrote: "In Indigenous cultures, women are held in much higher standing than men are because they are the bringers of new life. "

So now I'm really curious. And I know you are not a spokesperson for the entire indigenous population. But reading Heartberries really makes me question that standing.

If women are respected in these cultures... Why is there so much violence against them?


message 21: by Pam (last edited Mar 29, 2018 12:47PM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Pam wrote: "~Krystal wrote: "In Indigenous cultures, women are held in much higher standing than men are because they are the bringers of new life. "

So now I'm really curious. And I know you are not a spoke..."


In Heartberries at least, sqaw seemed a dirty word used in a dirty fashion by both the white community and the tribal community. Was that a wrong interpretation?


message 22: by Pam (last edited Mar 29, 2018 01:11PM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
MeerderWörter wrote: " as she touched people the most, both as an Apache and as a young woman...."

I understand. No disrespect on her part, but she was also the only one who did this at the Oscars. So we don't really know if it was Littlefeather- the fact that she was young or a woman, or an Apache( vs Sioux or Crow) that did it - OR the strategy of having any AIM representative stand in for Marlon.

Would an older woman have the same impact?
Would an older woman face the same misogynistic hate that Littlefeather faced?

We don't know.

Again, not trying to criticize her actions, meerly asking about the power imbalance.


message 23: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Pam wrote: "Pam wrote: "~Krystal wrote: "In Indigenous cultures, women are held in much higher standing than men are because they are the bringers of new life. "

So now I'm really curious. And I know you are..."


No you are not wrong in that interpretation.


message 24: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Pam wrote: "~Krystal wrote: "In Indigenous cultures, women are held in much higher standing than men are because they are the bringers of new life. "

So now I'm really curious. And I know you are not a spoke..."


Most violence against women in indigenous culture comes from "whitewashing" for lack of a better term, I am a person of indigenous descent and do belong to the Mi'kmaq tribe and while yes women do experience violence against them from men in their tribes this is a result of the introduction of alcohol and drugs to our culture, residential schools and indoctrination and the fact that we "marry white". So while this does happen a lot our tribal leaders are trying to reintroduce our cultural ways and repair the damage that's been done. We're not there yet and we have a long way to go still but we're getting there.


message 25: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments ~Krystal wrote: "Most violence against women in indigenous culture comes from "whitewashing" for lack of a better term, I am a person of indigenous descent and do belong to the Mi'kmaq tribe and while yes women do experience violence against them from men in their tribes this is a result of the introduction of alcohol and drugs to our culture, residential schools and indoctrination and the fact that we "marry white". ..."

That's an awful lot of excuses you make there for the decisions of your men to enact violence against women... and not sounding a whole lot of convincing to me, tbh.


message 26: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Gerd wrote: "~Krystal wrote: "Most violence against women in indigenous culture comes from "whitewashing" for lack of a better term, I am a person of indigenous descent and do belong to the Mi'kmaq tribe and wh..."

Oh, so you think that centuries of colonialism haven't left their mark on the Indigenous Peoples of North America? Really?!


message 27: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments MeerderWörter wrote: "Oh, so you think that centuries of colonialism haven't left their mark on the Indigenous Peoples of North America? Really?! ..."

I think to put down violence against women from their own tribesmen on these sources overlooks the fact that enacting violence against another person is still a conscious decision those people make.

I'm not quite sure what to make of "marry white"?
What's that supposed to mean?


message 28: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Gerd wrote: "MeerderWörter wrote: "Oh, so you think that centuries of colonialism haven't left their mark on the Indigenous Peoples of North America? Really?! ..."

I think to put down violence against women fr..."



It means we marry outside our tribes, we marry White Men, I'm not sure how you can miss that. And I think you're misinterpreting my answer. What you may think are excuses are direct results of all the things I've mentioned in my prior comments. Indigenous men weren't beating the crap out of their women prior to the introduction of white culture into indigenous tribes so I'm sorry you feel my very factual answer is just "excuses"


message 29: by Pam (last edited Mar 30, 2018 10:38AM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
~Krystal wrote: "Gerd wrote: "MeerderWörter wrote: "Oh, so you think that centuries of colonialism haven't left their mark on the Indigenous Peoples of North America? Really?! ..."

I think to put down violence aga..."


Introduction being... Like Columbus vs new world introduction?

I think we can all see that...
- stripping someone of their culture.
- removing their way of life / forced endoctrination
- putting the remaining people in a sectioned of parcel of land that amounts to an open window prison
- Removing opportunities for advancement aka trade, business, voting rights for decades
- introducing addictive substances like sugar and alcohol

... all plays a whole lot into the issue.

It's the continuation of ignorance, hate, dependcy, and dominance displays that hurt indigenous population. Be they get it from white culture or from their own. And this is especially felt in less powerful group which happens to be children and women.

We cannot recreate a culture, subjegate the people, and pile on atrocities and expect everything to be hunky dory in a generation or two.

I get that.

My question though is that are woman accepted by their own people? Given all this history and a pile of dog poo, are women actually respected and seen as life bearers or is that what the community is trying to accomplish?

Are there organizations within the tribal community similar in the white community? Like YWCA or the rape crisis group? Do these communiities have an internal system or do they use the same resources as those off the res?

Is our help, the OSS reading community, welcomed? And if so.... How can we help?


message 30: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Or rather... Cause re-reading that comes off as very ego tisticsal...

What do tribal communities need to continue to uplift their women?


message 31: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Pam wrote: "~Krystal wrote: "Gerd wrote: "MeerderWörter wrote: "Oh, so you think that centuries of colonialism haven't left their mark on the Indigenous Peoples of North America? Really?! ..."

I think to put ..."


Yes women are accepted by their own people, they are actually seen and respected by the majority of their tribes as life bearers and upheld as important parts of their culture, I was more answering your question as to why they get abused by men in their culture and outside of it, does it always happen? No it doesn't because since tribes have started stepping away from white indoctrinations they've started putting much more domestic violence education in, We have women's friendship centers in our communities, family planning centers, native healing centers. Education on violence against women and all sorts of indigenous related programs for women on our Reservations now.


message 32: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Also to answer the question how can we help? Education, activism, volunteering on reservations with young moms. Continual support of indigenous peoples attempts to take their culture back. Are all ways you can directly help tribal communities.


message 33: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Awesome. Thanks Krystal.

And hey, guess the topic is right. Littlefeather's legacy continues to draw attention and debate some 40+ yrs later.


message 34: by James (new)

James Corprew Gerd wrote: "I'm not quite sure what to make of "marry white"?
What's that supposed to mean? "


If i had to guess it means that women in tribes are encouraged to marry into a white family as it would (in societies current state) enable the woman to have a better future with more possibilities.

As to your comment about "excuses" i can kind of see what you are talking about. While i do think that white culture has a cause and effect with tribesman i also believe that there should be personal accountability with those men who treat their women badly. Simply pointing the finger elsewhere isnt going to cut it and only gives those men an "out" of bad behavior on their part.

I dont think it has to be an either/or and im sure there is blame to go all around in those cases.


message 35: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments I would love to thank the white men in here for mansplaining how abuse has started happening and calling the very real reasonings given "excuses" without realizing how much damage that still does to blatantly disregard instead of acknowledging that hundreds of years of indoctrination by white people is part of the very real problem of abuse. No one is saying that indigenous men are not held accountable for their behaviours, we were, however, giving perspectives on HOW it started.


message 36: by Robert (last edited Mar 31, 2018 11:12AM) (new)

Robert Smart | 347 comments MeerderWörter wrote: "Emma wrote: "Thanks for sharing! This is such a great speech."

I still think that in the end the short 60 seconds speech was more effective. With the line "and especially with recent happenings at..."


Yes it is definitely a disgrace that it took 45 years for her to be asked to read the original written speech.

I was afraid that the original purpose of this discussion would be derailed by someone bringing up the potential Brando rape topic and do to that, completely lose the sight of what the original intent on this thread was, which was to bring light to the incredible speech made by Sacheen Littlefeather. Not that the Brando topic and abuse is unimportant but it I think belongs in another thread.


message 37: by James (new)

James Corprew ~Krystal wrote: "I would love to thank the white men in here for mansplaining how abuse has started happening and calling the very real reasonings given "excuses" without realizing how much damage that still does t..."

Im pretty sure my post confirmed some of the stuff you were stating and said there was plenty of blame to go around. But thank you for being totally closed minded and unable to handle other points of view on the subject. Since you clearly have a reading comprehension problem i will take my white ass and bow out of the conversation.


message 38: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Marry white is a completely understandable question from a non indigenous person. Because we have no clue why this would be a bad thing. <----And that's the ignorance.

Hear me out before you unfriend me.

What connotations come with marrying white? Like we got it means marrying a white person, but why was it in quotation marks? Is it similar to what other poc - specifically black women? Is it seen as a "step up" out of rezz life? Is it considered a mixing the races? Is there enough woman condemned for not marrying men from her tribe? Is it encouraged?

And then what about the stigma attached there? Do Indian women have to worry about exoticism? Are guys actually interested in them as people or just in the concept of an Indian lover? How does this effect women's ideals?

Do more white women marry into tribes or is it more white men?

I think some of the other parts could have been worded better... But the conversation does show how little even we know-how even supporters who do read up on this stuff- can be woefully ignorant.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com...

"For generations Native women could not govern their own bodies, because white men and officials dictated we were their wards. We were subject to exploitation, objectification, and degradation at the hands of white people. Why would I ever want to give my body or love to a white man, a man who could never understand my grief or lineage?"


message 39: by Pam (last edited Mar 31, 2018 12:54PM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Robert I'm sorry, I've crashed the board.

Krystal, Meerder, I'm equally sorry for putting you two on the spot as our probably most vocal OSS members about Indigenous Rights

Should we create a new topic thread for better worded questions or would you prefer we drop this?


message 40: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Pam wrote: "Robert I'm sorry, I've crashed the board.

Krystal, Meerder, I'm equally sorry for putting you two on the spot as our probably most vocal OSS members about Indigenous Rights

Should we create a ne..."


I don't think we should drop this, just that we keep this thread for what it is.
I think it's a good idea to create a new thread with questions. Just let me tell you this:
General you:
As a person who belongs to a minority myself, please, don't put someone through all the emotional labour all the time. It's not on the minority person to educate you. YOU have to do the hard work and figure stuff out. Doesn't mean you can never ask, but don't expect someone to explain something to you. It's so draining...


message 41: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments James wrote: "~Krystal wrote: "I would love to thank the white men in here for mansplaining how abuse has started happening and calling the very real reasonings given "excuses" without realizing how much damage ..."

I'm sorry if my comment came off as Harsh but you have to understand I'm not actually being closed minded. I can handle them just fine, it's just really irritating to feel like I'm being told that I don't know what I'm talking about and that something is just excusing, especially since in Canada they had residential schools and were being indoctrinated until 1997. So this isn't hundreds of years old indoctrinations, this was happening even in my generation. So imagine how it feels to be told, that you can't blame your men for something that happened hundreds of years ago right?


message 42: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Pam wrote: "Robert I'm sorry, I've crashed the board.

Krystal, Meerder, I'm equally sorry for putting you two on the spot as our probably most vocal OSS members about Indigenous Rights

Should we create a ne..."


I am fine with more discussion on this, I believe that education on these topics are extremely important and the only way to end years of harm is to educate ourselves on the real issues that are still extremely relevant and prevalent in our society. The only way to truly win the war is to continue narratives.


message 43: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (crazylittlebookpage) | 55 comments Pam wrote: "Marry white is a completely understandable question from a non indigenous person. Because we have no clue why this would be a bad thing. <----And that's the ignorance.

Hear me out before you unfr..."



The Marrying White was in quotations because it's not something that we ourselves chose so to speak, we were made to believe that marrying outside our cultures was what was best for us. It is more white men who marry into tribes than white women because of white women tended to be told that Natives are dirty yet white men were doing it to better indigenous women, to make them more civilized so to speak if that makes sense. So again it all comes down to indoctrinations.


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