In an explosive new interview, the sisters of Sacheen Littlefeather have claimed the late activist was a liar and a fraud — and not Native at all.
Speaking separately to the San Francisco Chronicle, Trudy Orlandi and Rosalind Cruz shared that they are not ethnically Native American and that they identify as “Spanish.” Littlefeather, the sisters said, was born Marie Louise Cruz but changed her name after rediscovering what she purportedly believed was her Native American heritage and becoming active in protests as a young woman.
Orlandi said, “It’s a lie …My father was who he was. His family came from Mexico. And my dad was born in Oxnard.”
Littlefeather, famously known for rejecting Marlon Brando’s Best Actor award for “The Godfather” at the 1973 Academy Awards, passed away earlier this month. She died at the age of 75 when breast cancer metastasized in her lung.
ACADEMY APOLOGIES TO SACHEEN LITTLEFEATHER NEARLY 50 YEARS AFTER REJECTING AN OSCAR ON MARLON BRANDO’S BEHALF
Littlefeather was subjected to intense scrutiny for her actions on Brando’s behalf and had shared in the past that the incident caused her to be “blacklisted” by Hollywood.
Cruz said of her sister’s actions, “It is a fraud,” before adding, “It’s disgusting to the heritage of the tribal people. And it’s just … insulting to my parents.”
Both women say they were not invited to the funeral. Their predominant issue with Littlefeather’s accounts, they recalled, was her recollection of an abusive childhood.
The sisters say it was difficult seeing her “being venerated as a saint” after her death, as they say their father, who Littlefeather claims was an abusive alcoholic, neither drank nor hurt them.
They allege that Littlefeather’s story of an abusive father was actually a tale inspired by their paternal grandfather.
“My father was deaf and he had lost his hearing at 9 years old through meningitis,” Cruz shared. “He was born into poverty. His father, George Cruz, was an alcoholic who was violent and used to beat him. And he was passed to foster homes and family. But my sister Sacheen took what happened to him.”
“You’re not gonna be a Mexican American princess,” Orlandi remarked. “You’re gonna be an American Indian princess. It was more prestigious to be an American Indian than it was to be Hispanic in her mind.”
Her younger sister said, “Sacheen did not like herself. She didn’t like being Mexican. So, yes, it was better for her that way to play someone else …The best way that I could think of summing up my sister is that she created a fantasy … She lived in a fantasy, and she died in a fantasy.”
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The interview’s veracity is being called into question due to the interview being done with Native American journalist and activist Jacqueline Keeler. Keeler is “known for co-creating the #NotYourMascot hashtag in 2013,” per Deadline, which sparked the former NFL team known as the Washington Redskins to change their name.
Keeler has also culled together “a public list” of “non-Native people who I or other Native American people suspect or proved to have manufactured their Native identities for personal gain.” She calls that list “Pretendians.”
A representative for The Oscars did not immediately return Fox News Digitals’ request for comment.
Fox News Digital’s Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.