According to her sisters, Sacheen Littlefeather lied about her alleged Apache origins

Would the Academy of Oscars have honored a fraud? In any case, this is what the two sisters of Sacheen Littlefeather say, less than a month after his death, who died on October 2 at the age of 75. In September, the institution apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather for the damage suffered during her career and put her in the spotlight for a thematic evening dedicated to Aboriginal cultures. Her career had come to a halt one evening in March 1973 when she stepped onto the Oscars stage.

That night, the young woman delivered a committed speech on behalf of Marlon Brandowho refused to accept the prize awarded to him for The Godfather. Rather than accepting the honours, the actor wanted to highlight Sacheen Littlefeather’s message and make the audience of the ceremony aware of the cause of his people. “It is with regret that [Marlon Brando] cannot accept this very generous reward, because of the way in which the American Natives today by the film industry”. These few words were enough to cause an outcry. Sacheen Littlefeather was boycotted by the Hollywood industry and shouted down from all sides.


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the San Francisco Chronicle met his sisters. Rosalind Cruz and Trudy Orlandi are formal: Sacheen Littlefeather was not an aboriginal. “It’s a fraud. […] It’s disgusting to the heritage of tribal peoples. And it’s just … insulting to my parents, ”says the first. “It’s a lie,” completes the second. “My father was what he was. His family came from Mexico. And my father was born in Oxnard. ” The San Francisco Chronicle traced the family tree back to “family records in Mexico” dated 1850. The diary’s findings corroborate those of the activist’s sisters. “The marriage and baptismal records do not place the Cruz or Ybarra families near White Mountain Apache territory in Arizona – nor were they near Yaqui communities in Mexico. Instead, the Cruz line goes to a village that is now part of Mexico City. »

” My sister […] lived in a fantasy”

As early as the 1960s, Sacheen Littlefather claimed apache roots and made it the source of his activism. Through her committed actions and the media platform she benefited from to raise public awareness of the cause of Aboriginal people, she has become a popular civil rights figure. However, “all the cousins, great-aunts, uncles and grandparents of the family going back to about 1880 […] are identified as white, Caucasian and Mexican on key legal documents in the United States. None of their relatives have married anyone who identifies as Native American or native american “, according to the journalist. He also spoke with officials of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. All deny having found links between their members or their ancestors and the young woman. This undermines the speech of Sacheen Littlefeather, born Maria Louise Cruz in 1946.

Her younger sister, Trudy Orlandi, believes that she preferred to call herself “Native American princess” than “Mexican American princess”: “It was more prestigious to be a Native American than to be Hispanic in her mind. […] The best way [dont je peux résumer] my sister is that she created a fantasy,” her younger sister said. “She lived in a fantasy and she died in a fantasy.”

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According to her sisters, Sacheen Littlefeather lied about her alleged Apache origins