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Sacheen Littlefeather (born Marie Cruz on 30 January 1947 in Salinasmarker, Californiamarker, U.S.marker) is a American Indian activist who donned Apache dress and presented a speech on behalf of actor Marlon Brando, for his performance in The Godfather, when he boycotted the 45th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27, 1973 in protest of the treatment of American Indians by the film industry.

Marlon Brando became involved with the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the early 1970s. He decided in 1973 that he wanted to make a statement about the events at Wounded Knee and contacted AIM about providing a person to accept the Oscar for him. Dennis Banks and Russell Means picked Marie Cruz. She had previously been the winner of the 1970 Miss American Vampire competition.

She represented Brando and his boycotting of the Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather (1972), as a way to protest the ongoing siege at Wounded Knee and Hollywoodmarker and television's misrepresentation of American Indians. Brando had written a fifteen-page speech for Cruz 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 45 seconds. Her comments on stage were improvised. She then went backstage and read the entire speech to the press. Exactly what became of the Oscar is unknown. The incident provoked the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences to rule out proxy acceptance of Academy Awards thenceforth.

Afterward, she began a brief acting career and posed for Playboy magazine, appearing in its October 1973 issue. Cruz claims a heritage that includes Apache, Yaqui, Pueblo, and European ancestry. On her official website, she states her father was from the White Mountain Apachemarker and Yaqui tribes from Arizona and that "Cruz" is her father's recognized tribe name.

Currently, Sacheen is the co-ordinator of the Kateri Prayer Circle in San Francisco and resides in the San Rafael, Californiamarker area.


  • Shoot the Sun Down (1981)
  • Winterhawk (1975)
  • Johnny Firecloud (1975)
  • Freebie and the Bean (1974) (uncredited)
  • The Trial of Billy Jack (1974)
  • The Laughing Policeman (1973) (uncredited)
  • Consigliori, Il (1973)
  • The 45th Annual Academy Awards (TV)(1973) (Representing Marlon Brando to explain his boycotting of his Best Actor award for The Godfather)


  2. "OSCAR WATCH; Oscar takes a bow for legacy of controversy", Stephen Schaefer, Boston Herald, March 16, 2003
  3. SACHEEN CRUZ LITTLEFEATHER] Biographical details

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