Marlon Brando On American History: “Everything We’re Taught About The American Indian Is Wrong”
In 1973, one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors Marlon Brando sat with talk show host Dick Cavett to discuss his new found insight on America’s relationship with the Indian, and how that relationship is falsely promoted in schools and in Hollywood films.
Brando, most known for his iconic role in 1972’s The Godfather, spoke with Cavett about John Collier’s novel Indians of The Americas, in which Collier wrote in explicit detail the violent way American settlers took over land from the Indian people.
“After reading the book I realized, I knew nothing about the American Indian, and everything that we are taught about the American Indian is wrong,” Brando said. “It’s inaccurate. Our school books are hopelessly lacking, criminally lacking, in revealing what our relationship was with the Indian.”
Brando, 49 at the time of the interview, had both feet firmly planted in film and activism and was often called upon to march and use his celebrity to bring attention to Civil Rights issues during the fifties and sixties.
“When we hear, as we’ve heard throughout all our lives, no matter how old we are, that we are a country that stands for freedom, for rightness, for justice for everyone, it simply doesn’t apply to those who are not white,” Brando said. “It just simply doesn’t apply, and we were simply the most rapacious, aggressive, destructive, torturing, monstrous people who swept from one coast to the other murdering and causing mayhem among the Indians.”
It was at this point one audience member clapped in approval to which Brando turned and jokingly said “There’s one Indian in the audience.”
Watch the five minute clip to see Brando speak on Hollywood’s part in the watered-down education of America’s treatment of the Indian people