Despite the ongoing problem with our phone system, Wednesday Talk Radio will go on today. Sorry we can't take your calls!
In late October, Native journalist (and KBOO talk show host) Jacqueline Keeler, published an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle outlining her research which demonstrated that "Sacheen Littlefeather" (Marie Louise Cruz at birth) was not the proud Native American defender of her people's culture and rights that she had long claimed to be. In fact, the recently deceased Cruz, or "Littlefeather," who had, just before her death, come back into the national spotlight when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences belatedly apologized to her for her treatment during the famous episode when, at Marlon Brando's request, she refused his 1973 Academy Award for The Godfather, was a fraud. Or, what Keeler and others have come to call a "Pretendian" (pretend Indian).
The op-ed, and a much longer and thoroughly documented article Keeler published on her substack platform, created considerable controversy and discussion, including among Native Americans. The long-simmering issue of non-indigenous North Americans posing as members of recognized tribal Nations was suddenly a hot topic of conversation. But, as Keeler takes pains to point out, the phenomenon is hardly new, and is much more widespread than you might imagine. Today we'll take a deep dive into how she came to focus on the issue and why it's so important to her and many, if not most, indigenous North Americans, and to the very foundation of national tribal sovereignty that is so crucial to their survivival.