November 06, 2010

Littlefeather fought for Native actors

Part II:  What would Sacheen Littlefeather say?

By Lisa SnellIn the early 80s, she was one of the co-founders of the National American Indian Performing Arts Registry, a nonprofit organization that encourages the film and television industries to hire Indians.

In 1984, Sacheen shared in an Emmy Award for her advisory work on PBS' 1984 "Dance in America" presentation of the ballet "Song for a Dead Warrior." She worked on two PBS shows, "Remember Me Forever" and "The Americas Before Columbus," both broadcast in 1992. She also produced films on American Indian health subjects and taught seminars about Indians' portrayal in American media and encouraged students with Santa Fe's Institute of American Indian Arts, which trains future filmmakers.

Sacheen eventually ended up back the in the San Francisco Bay area where she volunteered and worked with Native Americans dying with AIDS. That's when she met Mother Teresa.

"Marlon Brando didn't impress me the way Mother Teresa impressed me. She was somebody who worked with the poorest of the poor but never tried to 'missionize' anybody. She was just about doing good works, period," Sacheen said.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Reel Injun Interview and All About Sacheen Littlefeather.

Below:  "Activist and actress Sacheen Littlefeather, right, a subject of the PBS special Reel Injun, participates in a panel discussion about the show with Native American director Neil Diamond during the PBS Television Critics Association summer press tour on Aug. 5 in Beverly Hills, Calif." (AP photo/Chris Pizzello)


Anonymous said...

I have heard she is not Native. Is this true?

Rob said...

I believe she is Native:

Contrary to misinformation which has been published on the internet, Sacheen Littlefeather is indeed of true Native American Indian descent. Sacheen was born Marie Cruz in Salinas, California. Her mother is French-German-Dutch, and her father was from the White Mountain Apache and Yaqui tribes from Arizona. "Cruz" is her father's recognized tribe name. Sacheen took the name "Sacheen Littlefeather" after high school to reflect her natural heritage. She is not a "Mexican actress" as Roger Ebert incorrectly reported.