Sacheen Littlefeather at the Academy Awards in 1973. Still image from Oscars / YouTube
Actor and producer Sonny Skyhawk discusses the lack of Native American representation at the Oscars:
Our Native people were the first to be photographed and utilized by Thomas Edison, in 1898, as he was perfecting his invention of the Kinetoscope. Fast forward to the 21st century; that invention has evolved and has now become the film and digital television camera of today. So, 117 years later, why is it that everyone BUT the Native people of America are being represented or included in that medium ? The short answer is as elusive as the question. The reality is that if no scripts or films are made that include roles for Native people, roles that call for extraordinary acting chops, then we are excluded from the opportunity to participate in the yearly considerations for Golden Globe Awards, Sag Awards, and Oscars.
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A longer answer, and one that puts the onus on us as creative people, performers, and investors, is that if we really want to participate in the awards process, we have to write, produce, finance and distribute our own films judged to be of quality by the filmmaking world. Although all of that is within our ability, we have yet—with some exceptions—to reach the point of taking the investment risk associated with the business end of it. Until we do, we will continue to wonder why, after 117 years, we are not at the award consideration table.Get the Story:
Sonny Skyhawk: Why Don't We See Any Native Americans at the Academy Awards? (Indian Country Today 2/22)
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