Sacheen Littlefeather

Birth Name: Marie Louise Cruz

Date of Birth: November 14, 1946

Place of Birth: Salinas, Monterey, California, United States

Date of Death: October 2, 2022

Place of Death: Novato, California, U.S.

*father – Mexican
*mother – German, Dutch, one eighth Belgian [Flemish, Walloon]

Sacheen Littlefeather was an American actress, activist, and hospice care worker. She was an advocate for Native American civil rights. She represented Marlon Brando at the 45th Academy Awards ceremony in 1973, where Brando won an Oscar for The Godfather; and which Brando boycotted to protest against Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans and to draw attention to Wounded Knee. She also spoke for Native American healthcare and unemployment, and produced films about Native Americans. She appeared in the film The Trial of Billy Jack.

Sacheen was the daughter of Geroldine Marie, a leather stamper, and Manuel Ybarra Cruz, a saddlemaker. They owned a saddlery, Cruz Saddlery. Her father was born in Oxnard, California. Sacheen was married to Charles Koshiway Johnston, until his death.

She had said that her father of White Mountain Apache and Yaqui ancestry from Arizona, and her mother was of European descent. Her sisters had said that their family is not Native American, and that their father was of “Spanish-Mexican” descent, without tribal affiliation or identity in the U.S. or Mexico.

Sacheen’s paternal grandfather was Roberto Jorge “George” Cruz (the son of Benseslado/Wenceslao/Wenceslado Cruz and Mercedes/Merced Lara Gonzales). Roberto was born in Florence, Pinal, Arizona, to Mexican parents. Wenceslao was born in Sonora, the son of Jose Maria Cruz, who was born in San Rafael, Pima, Arizona, and of Teresa Torres. Merced was also born in Sonora, the daughter of Candido Gonzales and Andrea Lira/Lara, from Aguascalientes.

Sacheen’s paternal grandmother was Gertrudes Anita “Tula” Ybarra (the daughter of Francisco “Frank” Ybarra and Francisca Verdugo). Gertrudes was born in Arizona, to Mexican parents. Francisco was the son of Andres Ybarra and F. Balderado/Maldonado. Francisca was born in Sonora.

Sacheen’s maternal grandfather was Gerold/Gerald Francis “Barney”/Barnie Barnitz (the son of Francis Xavier “Frank” Barnitz and Barbara Agnes Thome). Gerold was born in Greeley, Weld, Colorado. Frank was of German descent, the son of Daniel John Barnitz, Jr. and Maria Luisa/Luise Fisher. Barbara was born in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, the daughter of Joseph Thome and Maria Margaretha Grosjean, whose family was from Waimes, Liège, Belgium.

Sacheen’s maternal grandmother was Marie Margaret Mantel/Bosch (the daughter of William Cornelius Bosch, Jr. and Margaretha/Margaret Catherina Bronkhorst). Marie Margaret was born in Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa, to Dutch parents. William was the son of William K. Bosch and J. Van Leuwen. Margaret was born in Anna Paulowna, Noord-Holland, the daughter of Willem Bronkhorst and Grietje/Gertrude van der Aarde.


Genealogy of Sacheen Littlefeather –

Genealogy of Sacheen Littlefeather (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Sacheen Littlefeather on the 1950 U.S. Census –

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