Most Read

TV & Movies

Lily Gladstone Calls Out NFL While Addressing 'Misrepresentation' Of Native Americans

The 'Killers of the Flower Moon' star opened up during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Virtuosos Awards about her 'long overdue' historic Oscar nomination, and pointed out how Native Americans have continued to be treated unfairly by referencing appropriating NFL teams, including the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs.

Lily Gladstone
Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF

Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone—the first Native American performer nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award—acknowledged the long history of exclusion and misrepresentation in cinema and drew attention to the NFL, urging the audience to consider the representation of Native Americans in the Kansas City Chiefs, the team that won the big game.

Gladstone, who is of Siksikaitsitapi and Niimiipuu heritage, opened up about her "long overdue" historic nomination, noting that "some of the first filmmakers [and] the first film footage was shot by native people documenting our way of life."

Referring to the Chiefs, who faced pushback over their name and arrowhead logo, Gladstone remarked:

"But that's a lot of history and a lot of years of exclusion or misrepresentation, and I mean Super Bowl's tomorrow."
"We haven't come that far if we look at one of the teams that's playing."

Indeed, the Chiefs have been subject to criticism and protests, with calls for the organization to change its name and logo.

In 2023, after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, demonstrators protested outside the stadium in Arizona, demanding an end to practices like the "tomahawk chop." The team had previously banned certain fan attire that referenced or appropriated Native American cultures and traditions.

The move by the Chiefs occurred in the broader context of a shift in sports teams reconsidering names and symbols that could be deemed offensive or disrespectful to Native American communities.

The NFL's Washington team, formerly associated with a term considered a racial slur against Native Americans, underwent a significant rebranding. In response to public pressure, the team dropped its previous name entirely and has since adopted the new identity of the Commanders.

Many have echoed Gladstone's criticisms.

Gladstone earned rave reviews for her performance as Mollie Burkhart in Killers of the Flower Moon, for which she has won numerous awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama).

She discussed her Oscar nomination, emphasizing that it is not just about her but a shared achievement within the community:

"It's circumstantial that it's this filmmaker, that it's this point in history, that it's this story, that it's this kind of an epic tale, that it's this character that it's this community."
"I mean, the film is so remarkable because of how remarkable Osage people are and how much they had to say about the making of it, how embraced we all were."
"That's ultimately what means the most to me is, I mean, the way that the response in Indian country from the Globes win, it's like, I'm done. It's very shared. It's very touching to see the impact that a win for one of us means for all of us."

Gladstone this week participated in the 2024 Academy Awards Luncheon.

She is one of ten first-time nominees in the acting categories, a list that includes Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer), Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), Sterling K. Brown (American Fiction), Colman Domingo (Rustin), America Ferrera (Barbie), Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall), Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers), and Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction).