NAFPS Archives > Archive No. 1

NO LONGER A MATTER OF CONCERN Marie Louise Cruz AKA Sacheen Littlefeather


From the topic "Siobhan Marks Our Grandmothers Strap Dress" today:

--- Quote from: educatedindian on January 13, 2023, 03:09:37 pm ---Never do we go after someone who just repeated what they were falsely believed, or taught as family stories. They must gain something from it. A good recent example is Marie Cruz who called herself Sacheen Littlefeather. She made up the name and posed as Yaqui, which is as common among Mexicans as Cherokee claims are among whites. Except for two small roles in exploitation films, there was no other benefit to her. She spent her life establishing theaters and hospices. I think because she was doing good, the many people who knew of her falsehoods, not just family, never came forward.
--- End quote ---

I became aware of this earlier today via a Sámi-related news item in Norway, which linked to this 2022 article:

(Also here:

Also re-reported here:

Before that, in June of 2021, she was interviewed in The Guardian, where she told her 'official' story:

In August of 2022 came this tribute to her:

Sacheen Littlefeather also mentioned in the thread "Susan Fairweathe AKA TAIRP AKA AmericanIndian8":

--- Quote from: Defend the Sacred on December 14, 2018, 09:17:29 pm ---They are the people who committed identity theft by stealing photos and the name of Sacheen Littlefeather, leading her to make this video exposing them:
--- End quote ---

In addition to that video these may be interesting:
[Marlon Brando's Best Actor Oscar win for "The Godfather" | Sacheen Littlefeather]
[Sacheen Littlefeather Reads Marlon Brando’s Full 1973 Oscars® Speech]

There is a 2018 documentary (26 minutes):

I found only the official trailer to watch:

There is a comprehensive Wikipedia entry with lots of interesting links:

Her own website is only one page:


--- Quote from: Sparks on January 13, 2023, 09:26:51 pm ---From the topic "Siobhan Marks Our Grandmothers Strap Dress" today:
--- End quote ---

Since Jacqueline Keeler's Oct. 22, 2022 article was published, some Native American writers have criticized it.

--- Quote ---An open letter to Keeler from a White Mountain Apache Upper East Fork District woman claiming Sacheen Littlefeather. “You should’ve conducted better research before printing this article.”
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---How the Sacheen Littlefeather Controversy Exposes the Complexities of Identity and Who Gets to Call Themselves Native (Guest Column) [By Laura Clark Oct, 23, 2022]

On Saturday, a bombshell report from the opinion pages of the San Francisco Chronicle whipped up #NativeTwitter into a frenzy. The report, authored by Jacqueline Keeler (Diné/Yankton Dakota Sioux), claimed that venerated White Mountain Apache/Yaqui activist Sacheen Littlefeather had fudged her identity and, according to Littlefeather’s sisters, wasn’t actually Native.
For the controversial reporter Keeler, who’s been accused multiple times of conducting unethical and racially charged “witch hunts” to “out Pretendians,” the timing seemed awkward at best and arch at worst.

Not only that, but Keeler’s article has stirred up a lot of complicated emotions for Native people, myself included. As an enrolled tribal citizen (Muscogee/Cherokee), who is routinely told that I “don’t look Native,” despite having a mother who was a near full-blood, I become extremely disheartened when I read any story about so-called “Pretendians” — that is, non-Native folks who falsely claim that they belong to a tribe.

So-called Pretendians create quite a bit of damage — taking positions away and claiming space from actual Native people whose voices they have spoken over or replaced.

But with Littlefeather, it’s more complicated than many people — particularly non-Native people — think.
--- End quote ---

A long discussion that made me understand why Jacqueline Keeler may be 'controversial':

--- Quote ---And grift it is. If it weren't she wouldn't have so hungrily and disgustingly danced on Sacheen Littlefeathers grave, using shoddy research to pump up her profile, not caring that it has far reaching consequences for tribal sovereignty including damage to ICWA.
--- End quote ---

Some of this is worth quoting at more length. Since Cruz has passed on, and the claim of her being an imposter very questionable, should we move her to Archives?

Here in the quiet often overlooked East Fork Community, we all know of Littlefeather's ties through our bloodline. She has family here that have visited her on a regular basis in California.
She is by blood part East Fork Apache, Yaqui, and Mexican. In fact a lot of Upper East Fork Community are of Mexican breed, in the Quintero Springs area. The tribe even categorized us as a sub clan called Nakaiye which means the Mexican Breed people. That's where she falls under.
Sasheen isn't an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, but that doesn't make her any less part East Fork Apache....

Another article mentioning it.
....One of the biggest Pretendian claims made since the list itself came out was a San Francisco Chronicle article against Sacheen Littlefeather, the Apache woman who stepped in to accept Marlon Brando’s award at the 45th Academy Awards in 1973.

Littlefeather’s sisters say she was not Native and that they are actually Spanish through their father. (Keeler, 2022) There was instant outrage to this, as it came just weeks after Littlefeather’s death. The outrage was not the only thing that was instant, however, as other news outlets picked up the story as well. When it comes to stories like Keeler’s and those that followed it up, one thing was glaringly absent: commentary from members of the White Mountain Apache and Yaqui tribes. While Littlefeather’s family can offer insight to the family’s tribal ties, they cannot offer insight to Littlefeather’s personal journey of reconnection. A White Mountain Apache woman of the Upper East Fork District shared a statement, claiming Littlefeather, that gives a needed perspective:

“This from an Apache woman… ‘You should’ve conducted better research before printing this article. You could’ve asked me. I’m a White Mountain Apache from the Upper East Fork District. And here in the quiet and [oftentimes], [overlooked] East Fork Community, we all know of [Littlefeather’s] ties, through our [bloodlines]. She has family here that have visited her on a regular basis in California. She is by blood, part East Fork Apache, Yaqui, and Mexican. In fact, a lot of Upper East Fork Community members are of Mexican Breed, in the Quintero Springs area. The Tribe even categorized us as a sub-clan called Nakaiye which means, the Mexican Breed People. That’s where she falls under. [Sacheen] isn’t an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, but it doesn’t make her any less, part East Fork Apache. There are many people who are born Apache, who aren’t enrolled, or have difficulty enrolling, because they aren’t able to prove their [ties] through bloodline, within a written system, developed by [Non-Natives]. Sounds like her sisters were just jealous of her and waited to talk [shit] about her until after her death. They couldn’t say anything while she was alive? So disrespectful.’” (WaiAlicia, 2022)(2)

And I agree this should have been addressed prior to her death, both by her family and by Keeler who cannot speak on behalf of every tribe out there as she does not belong to every tribe out there. If Keeler has been working on this research for years, why was Sacheen’s row on The List not complete with statements from her sisters or professional associates? (Keeler, 2022) The fine print of The List claimed that Keeler and Co. would seek out the accused for comment, after all. Why did Keeler not confront her while she was alive to explain?

....Whether authoring her own articles or being interviewed, Keeler continues to make these claims without the support of community.

I think it should go to archives.


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