Vietnam veteran becomes first Native American to be awarded an Oscar

Elizabeth Howe
June 10, 2019 - 1:12 pm

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Wes Studi, Vietnam veteran, was recognized for his roles in "Dances with Wolves," "Last of the Mohicans," "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," and others with an Oscar for lifetime achievement — and he's the first Native American to do so. 

"I am deeply honored and humbled," Studi tweeted. "I finally get to say, 'I'd like to thank the Academy.' "

This is not the first "first" for Native Americans that Studi is responsible for. At last year's Oscars, Studi introduced a tribute video to the military  — and he did so in Cherokee. 

Last year's Oscars' tribute to military movies

While Studi is the first Native American to receive the award, he is not the first to be nominated — for example, Graham Greene was nominated for "Dances with Wolves" in 1990. 

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected Studi along with three others to receive this award which recognizes contributions to the industry that don't necessarily fit easily into any of the existing Oscars categories.

The four award recipients will be honored on Oct. 27 at the Academy's 11th Annual Governors Awards.

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