I don’t think that people generally realise what motion picture industry has done to the American Indian, as a matter of fact, all ethnic groups, all minorities, all non-whites. And people just simply don’t realise, just take it for granted that that’s the way people are going to be presented and these clichés are just, I mean on this network every night, well perhaps not every night, but you can see silly renditions of human behaviour, the leering Filipino houseboy, the wily Japanese, the kook or the gook, black man, stupid Indian. It just goes on and on and on. And people actually don’t realise how deeply people are injured by seeing themselves represented, not so much the adults, who are already inured to that kind of pain and pressure, but children. Indian children seeing Indians represented as savage, as ugly, as nasty, vicious, treacherous, drunken. They grow up only with a negative image of themselves and it lasts a lifetime.
Marlon Brando on why Sacheen Littlefeather presented a speech on his behalf during his Best Actor win for The Godfather at the 1973 Academy Awards