Sacheen Littlefeather’s legacy of activism was cemented together with her look on the 1973 Academy Awards, the place she took the stage on Marlon Brando’s behalf to talk towards the widespread mistreatment of Native American individuals within the movie trade.
Lower than a month after her dying, the San Francisco Chronicle printed claims within the outlet’s opinion part that allege Littlefeather was not Native and spent most of her life fraudulently claiming Apache and Yaqui ancestry, igniting livid criticism geared toward each Littlefeather and the writer.
Littlefeather died on 2 October following a breast most cancers prognosis. She was 75.
Author Jacqueline Keeler, whose personal controversial historical past consists of publishing an inventory of individuals she named “Pretendians” in 2021, mentioned she interviewed Littlefeather’s youthful sisters, who claimed that Littlefeather lied about her ancestry to advance her profession.
The article and Ms Keeler’s allegations have drawn vital backlash from Native American critics who’ve accused Ms Keeler of focused harassment, policing Native identification, and slandering Littlefeather’s status when she is not alive to defend herself.
“I hate that Native individuals need to spend a single breath speaking about Jacqueline Keeler,” Anishinaabe author Ashley Fairbanks mentioned on Twitter. “There’s so many issues hurting our communities, and there’s so many lovely issues to rejoice, and her witch hunt sucks up all of the oxygen.”
She added: “It’s as much as individuals’s house group, or the one they declare, to talk out in the event that they really feel they’re being harmed. Utilizing tribal enrollment as the one measure of Native identification is so colonial.”
Joseph M Pierce, an affiliate professor of Latin American and Indigenous Research at Stony Brook College, instructed The Day by day Beast that whereas he wouldn’t be stunned if Ms Keeler’s claims are true, “it’s a little bit disappointing to me how individuals can take delight on this.”
“[The piece] tries to make black and white issues that truly have nuance,” in response to Mr Pierce, including that the piece “preys on individuals’s insecurities moderately than proposing a kind of restore.”
Ms Keeler has confronted criticism for a doc that lists the names and figuring out data of individuals that suggests a form of “ethnic fraud” is being carried out. Critics have additionally condemned a extremely controversial “colonialist” blood measurement of identification Native ancestry.
Indigenous authorities have confused that sovereign tribes and nations must be main their very own investigations into citizenship claims, and that alleging “Pretendian” fraud with incomplete or unreliable analysis and bias – whereas additionally falsely accusing precise Native individuals alongside allegations towards others – may advance a dangerous agenda and complicate a nuanced understanding of such identities.
A number of individuals on the checklist have denied the allegations towards them in Ms Keeler’s doc, together with Nadema Agard, who has slammed the doc as a “witch hunt” towards Native individuals.
“I don’t wish to give Keeler’s shtick oxygen,” wrote Rutherford Falls showrunner Sierra Ornelas.
On 21 October, Littlefeather’s sisters appeared at her funeral mass, the place they instructed mourners that she lived with a lifelong psychological sickness and had maligned her mother and father together with her accounts of an abusive childhood.
Ms Keeler claimed that there have been no household information of their enrollment in any tribes, and Littlefeather’s sisters mentioned that they had been troubled to see her “commemorated as a saint”.