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This awards season has seen Lily Gladstone (Blackfeet and Nimíipuu)  blaze a trail for Native performers as she garners nominations and awards for her role in Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon." Today, she has made history as the first Native American actress to be nominated for an Oscar at the 96th Academy Awards, and the fourth Indigenous actress to ever earn a nomination in the category.

Gladstone played the female lead opposite of Leonardo DiCaprio in Scorsese's sprawling 1920s crime drama about the murders of Osage tribal members for their oil rights. Gladstone portrayed Molly Burke, the real-life Osage woman whose life was the center of the horror. 

Earlier this month, Gladstone made history as the first Indigenous person to win the Golden Globe award for female actor in a motion picture — drama.

During her acceptance speech, the 37-year-old actress spoke in Blackfeet, then said in English, "I love everyone in this room right now, thank you. I don’t have words. I just spoke a bit of Blackfeet language, the beautiful community nation that raised me, that encouraged me to keep going, keep doing this. To my mom, who even though she’s not Blackfeet worked tirelessly to get our language into our classroom, so I had a Blackfeet language teacher growing up.

“… I’m so grateful that I can speak even a little bit of my language, which I’m not fluent enough here, because in this business Native actors used to speak their lines in English and then the sound mixers would run them backwards to accomplish Native languages on camera. This is an historic one. It doesn’t belong to just me. I’m holding it right now, I’m holding it with all my beautiful sisters in the film and my mother [in the film], Tantoo Cardinal. I'm standing on all of your shoulders."

Three Indigenous women have previously been nominated for the Academy Award for lead actress, including Merle Oberon in 1936 for "The Dark Angel," Keisha Castle-Hughes in 2003 for "Whale Rider" and Yalitza Aparicio in 2019 for "Roma."

The 2024 Oscars will be held March 10 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

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