Lily Gladstone Becomes the First Indigenous Performer to Win a SAG for Best Female Actor in a Leading Role

“Keep speaking your truths, and keep speaking up for each other.”

Lily Gladstone poses at the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lily Gladstone has made Hollywood history.

On Saturday, Feb. 24, the Killers of the Flower Moon star took home a 2024 SAG Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role.

Gladstone—who was raised on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana— is the first Indigenous performer to ever take home the coveted award.

After accepting her boundary-breaking award on the SAG Awards stage, Gladstone delivered a moving speech about inclusivity and representation.

"My friends, fellow actors, I feel the good in what you have done—what you do," Gladstone said in English and after briefly speaking in her native Blackfoot language. "This has been a hard year for all of us. Those in this room, those not in this room, I'm so proud that we have gotten here in solidarity with all of our other unions."

Lily Gladstone poses at the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Lily Gladstone poses at the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gladstone, like many of the other presenters and nominees, was alluding to the writers' and actors' strikes of 2023, which shut down filming and production on television and film projects nationwide.

"It's truly a gift that we get to do this for a living. That's the win. It was getting to be here, it was getting to be on set. It was getting to tell stories," Gladstone continued. "It's so easy to distance ourselves. It's so easy to close off, to stop feeling, and we all bravely keep feeling, and that humanizes people. That brings people out of the shadows; it brings visibility."

Gladstone went on to encourage "everybody in this room" and "everybody watching abroad" to "keep telling stories."

"Those of you who are not actors but have a voice, have a story that needs to be heard," she added. "Thank you for all of the compassionate souls in this room and all of the storytellers here tonight. Keep speaking your truths, and keep speaking up for each other."

Lily Gladstone accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role award for “Killers of the Flower Moon” onstage during the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Lily Gladstone accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role award for 'Killers of the Flower Moon' onstage during the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gladstone—who stars in Killers of the Flower Moon alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro—has been a fierce advocate for Indigenous people and their communities during this year's award season.

After winning a 2024 Golden Glob
e for her performance as Mollie Burkhart in the Martin Scorsese film, Gladstone started her acceptance speech by speaking Blackfeet.

"I love everyone in this room right now, thank you," Gladstone said after switching to English. "I don't have words. I, um, I just spoke a bit of Blackfeet language—beautiful community, nation that raised me, that encouraged me to keep going keep doing this."

She went on to say that she was "so grateful" to be able to speak "a little bit of my language" in part because of the erasure Indigenous actors have experienced in the entertainment industry.

"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," Gladstone explained. "This is a historic win, it doesn't belong to me."

Danielle Campoamor

Danielle Campoamor is an award-winning freelance writer covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mental health, politics, and feminist issues. She has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, and more.