Her death comes months after the Academy issued a formal apology to Littlefeather nearly 50 years after she took the stage.

WASHINGTON — Sachin Littlefeather, best known for performing at the 1973 Academy Awards on behalf of Marlon Brando, has died at age 75.

The Academy confirmed Littlefeather’s death Twitter on Sunday evening.

Her death comes months after the Academy issued a formal apology to Littlefeather nearly 50 years after she took the stage.

When Brando won best actor for The Godfather, Littlefeather took the stage in a buckskin dress and moccasins, becoming the first Native American to do so at the Academy Awards. In a 60-second speech, she explained that Brando could not accept the award because of “the film industry’s treatment of American Indians today.”

Some of the audience booed her. John Wayne, who was backstage at the time, was reportedly furious. During the Oscar ceremony in 1973 the American Indian Movement’s two-month occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Over the years, Littlefeather said she has been mocked, discriminated against and personally attacked for her brief appearance at the Oscars.

In announcing the apology, the Academy Museum shared a letter that Academy President David Rubin sent to Littlefeather on June 18 about the iconic Oscar moment. Rubin called Littlefeather’s speech “a powerful statement that continues to remind us of the need for respect and the importance of human dignity.”

“The abuse you suffered because of this statement was unwarranted and unwarranted,” Rubin wrote. “The emotional toll you have endured and the cost to your career in our industry is irreparable. For too long, your courage has gone unrecognized. For this, we offer our deepest apologies and sincere admiration.”

Littlefeather said in a statement that it was “great to see how much has changed since I accepted the Academy Award 50 years ago.”

“As for the Academy’s apology, we Indians are very patient people – it’s only been 50 years!” said Littlefeather. “We need to keep a sense of humor in this regard at all times. This is our method of survival.”

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