Lily Gladstone’s historic Golden Globes win is ‘a celebration for all Natives and Indigenous people’: ‘Finally we’re up there on that stage’

Harry Luke
Harry Luke
5 Min Read

Lily Gladstone (Blackfeet/Nimíipuu) made history Sunday night as the first Indigenous person to take home a Best Actress Golden Globe Award, winning for her role in Killers of the Flower Moon as an Osage woman whose family and tribe are being systematically murdered.

Acknowledging her historic win and kicking off her speech in the Blackfeet language, Gladstone thanked the Osage Nation as well as the film’s director, Martin Scorsese, co-star and executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio and co-star Robert De Niro. Then Gladstone spoke specifically to the Native American community.

“This is for every little rez kid, every little urban kid, every little Native kid out there who has a dream, who is seeing themselves represented and our stories told — by ourselves — in our own words with tremendous allies and tremendous trust from each other,” she said.

The Native community, in turn, was eager to show its support.

“I witnessed firsthand [Lily’s] dedication to this film and her ability to gracefully integrate our community,” Osage artist Addie Roanhorse, who is a descendant of one of the victims portrayed in the film and who worked in the film’s art department, told Yahoo Entertainment. “I am so proud of Lily. She gave a heartfelt speech that was thoughtful and sincere.”

Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Muscogee), who directed Gladstone in two episodes of his acclaimed TV series Reservation Dogs, agreed.

“You can’t overstate the historic impact that it has, and it’s just really beautiful and a celebration for all Natives and Indigenous people that finally we’re up there on that stage,” Harjo told Yahoo Entertainment. “Lily is a person that is very down-to-earth, very real, very loving, and just carries herself with grace, and is such a great, great, great person to be there, to be speaking Native languages onstage and to have young Indigenous kids look on their TV screen and see that.”

A father himself, Harjo added, “She represents us so well, and I’m proud that my kids get to look up on the screen and see her. I’m proud that all of the Native kids get to look up on the screen and see her.”

Social media platforms also lit up with messages and memes calling out the historic moment.

“We’re all so proud of you!” fellow Reservation Dogs actor Zahn McClarnon (Hunkpapa Lakota) posted on Instagram.

“You deserve it all!” echoed Reservation Dogs actor Dallas Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota/Diné).

Blackfeet/Cree beadwork artist Lenise Omeasoo, whose earrings Gladstone wore to the Golden Globes Sunday night, posted her congratulations on Instagram.

“Big thanks to lilys team for reaching out for a pair of earrings. I’m humbled and plan to take this good energy and create tonight,” she wrote.

“My god. My god. The first of us, ever. I really could not be more in awe of her, of us as a people, and for where we’re going. The future… *IS* INDIGENOUS,” writer Kelly Lynne D’Angelo (Ska:rù:rę/Muscowpetung Cree) said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I am crying. To be seen. To FINALLY be seen. I never thought any of us would see the day. I am SO proud of her. Of US.”

Comedy writer Shea Vassar (Cherokee) also gave a shout-out to Gladstone, noting the actress’s recent affirmation of her “she/they” gender identity.

“[Shout-out] to all the other Native she/theys out there that feel seen tonight in a way that we didn’t think could be possible,” Vassar tweeted.

Feeling seen appeared to be a running theme for Sunday’s historic event, both as a reckoning of the past and a call for more Indigenous recognition and representation in Hollywood moving forward.

For some, including Harjo, it was impossible to see this moment without the influence of previous generations of Native relatives.

“In Reservation Dogs, she’s such an auntie, and she carries lots of knowledge and is a person that is telling [character] Willie Jack, ‘It’s OK, we carry our past with us, and we carry all of our ancestors with us,” Harjo said of Gladstone. “And it felt to me like definitely all of our ancestors were there with her onstage and very proud.”

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Harry Luke is a Professor in University of Galway. Harry's journey has been marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge, creativity, and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world around him.