lily gladstone cried as she gave an impassioned speech honoring activists working to protect indigenous women in Varieties Power of Woman event on Thursday in Hollywood, presented by Lifetime. He “Flower Moon Killers” actor – who is one of Varietythis year’s honorees and cover stars – offered an account of how the evolution of Martin Scorsese’s script from a criminal investigation to a story about an Osage woman, Mollie Kyle, and the husband who murdered her sisters and tribesmen, speaks to the ongoing abuse women face indigenous people today.
“At a certain point, Leo wasn’t playing this complicated villain. He was playing the first investigator of the newly formed FBI, Tom White, the essential white savior,” Gladstone said, pointing to her co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, who introduced her in a speech of your own. “That was not of his interest. Instead, putting this complicated villain in the foreground pushed Mollie Kyle, his beautiful sisters, and the Osage community out of the periphery. I’ve heard that early drafts maybe had three deeply developed scenes with Mollie.”
Gladstone was honored at the event for her work as an advocate for Indigenous women’s rights. The actor works closely with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC), a non-profit organization that aims to end violence against indigenous women. She has taught sculpture garden workshops for the organization. In the past, the NIWRC created a database that allows people to search for legislation on missing and murdered Indigenous women in all states.
“Understanding the scope of the work that these women do and understanding the irony and how it relates to this man on stage playing an FBI agent; If he had done so, how unfortunate it would have been for the public to leave with the impression that the FBI are the saviors of Native women. “We know that’s not the truth,” Gladstone said. “This nation’s tribal governments and treaties with tribal people are the only reason America exists. It is necessary to make treaties with other nations to obtain their own validity. And yet, these treaties are not respected.”
“Throughout colonization, over the last few hundred years, our inherent sovereignty as tribal nations has been stripped away more and more, to the point that if you are not enrolled in that tribe, on that reservation, and you commit a violent crime against a native person, no one can prosecute except the FBI. States do not have jurisdiction over tribal lands. Tribes have no jurisdiction. It’s just the federal government,” Gladstone continued. “The only people who have the authority to do something do nothing. And the people left to do something about it are these women here.”
The actor cried, pointing to the NIWRC women who had joined her at the event. Gladstone spoke of her humble beginnings as an actress and how the organization helped her in the early stages of her career.
“I have always known that acting is my activism. When she was struggling to pay $300 a month rent in 2011, working many different jobs and taking what she could, Lucy Simpson saw the work she had done with her children at camp using art and activism to bring to light and strengthen their voices,” Gladstone said. “She invited me to play the incredible Deborah Parker, Tulalip Nation trial chair and NIWRC board member and survivor herself, in a documentary theater piece, ‘Sliver of a Full Moon.’”
Gladstone also praised DiCaprio’s continued activism: “Your dedication to elevating indigenous-led grassroots organizations is pretty badass…Leo, you understand that grassroots organizations, frontline indigenous people, are the ones holding the line. the most valuable resources on this Earth. And I would add to that that in our indigenous communities, our most valuable resource is our women, our children.”
“Killers of the Flower Moon” focuses on the Reign of Terror, a genocidal attack on members of the Osage Nation, who were brutally murdered after receiving oil money. Gladstone plays Mollie, an Osage woman who becomes the wife of money-loving Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio). She caught the attention of director Martin Scorsese for her “calm” presence.
Gladstone addressed how the events of the film remain painfully relevant to the extreme abuse Indigenous women face today.
“Native women, four out of five in our lives, will experience some form of violence at the hands of a romantic partner or someone who wants to be a romantic partner,” Gladstone shared. “One thing that the NIWRC is doing is getting these survivor stories in front of legislators, in front of Congress, in front of people who have the power to implement real change, to give our people just what we need to protect ourselves. The minimum.”
Gladstone is now a leading awards contender for “Flower Moon.” Campaigning in the lead actress category, she He would be the first Native American nominated for an Oscar if selected by Academy voters. (Previous Indigenous nominees were born outside the United States.)