Q'orianka Kilcher

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Q'orianka Kilcher
Q'orianka Kilcher 1.jpg
Kilcher in January 2004
Q'orianka Waira Qoiana Kilcher

(1990-02-11) February 11, 1990 (age 29)
OccupationActress, singer, dancer, choreographer, producer
Years active2000–present

Q'orianka Waira Qoiana Kilcher (born February 11, 1990) is an American actress, singer, and activist. She performed as Pocahontas in the 2005 film The New World , and Kaʻiulani in Princess Kaiulani .

Pocahontas 17th-century American Indian woman

Pocahontas was a Native American woman notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. She was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of a network of tributary tribes in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia. She saved the life of Colonist John Smith in 1607, who was being held captive by her tribe, by placing her head upon Smith's when her father raised his war club to execute him.

<i>The New World</i> (2005 film) 2005 film by Terrence Malick

The New World is a 2005 British-American romantic historical drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, depicting the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement and inspired by the historical figures Captain John Smith, Pocahontas of the Powhatan tribe, and Englishman John Rolfe. It is the fourth feature film written and directed by Malick.

Kaʻiulani Crown princess and heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii until the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy

Victoria Kawēkiu Kaʻiulani Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapalapa Cleghorn was heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii and held the title of Crown Princess. Kaʻiulani became known throughout the world for her intelligence and determination. After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, she visited the United States to help restore the Kingdom; she made many speeches and public appearances denouncing the overthrow of her government and the injustice toward her people. While in Washington, D.C., she paid an informal visit to U.S. President Grover Cleveland and First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston, but her efforts could not prevent eventual annexation.


Early life

Kilcher was born in Schweigmatt, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany (present day Schweigmatt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Her name Q'orianka means "Golden Eagle" in Quechua.

Schweigmatt quarter of Schopfheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Schweigmatt is a hamlet located in the southern Black Forest of Germany at an altitude of 780 metres. It belongs to the village of Raitbach and is part of the municipality of Schopfheim in the district of Lörrach. Schweigmatt lies beneath the 985 m peak of the Hohe Möhr, from which it is possible to see as far as the Swiss Alps and Jura Mountains across the Rhine River.

Baden-Württemberg State in Germany

Baden-Württemberg is a state in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the border with France. It is Germany’s third-largest state, with an area of 35,751 km2 (13,804 sq mi) and 11 million inhabitants. Baden-Württemberg is a parliamentary republic and partly sovereign, federated state which was formed in 1952 by a merger of the states of Württemberg-Baden, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. The largest city in Baden-Württemberg is the state capital of Stuttgart, followed by Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Other cities are Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Pforzheim, Reutlingen and Ulm.

West Germany Federal Republic of Germany in the years 1949–1990

West Germany was the informal name for what was officially the Federal Republic of Germany, a country in Central Europe, in the period between its formation on 23 May 1949 and German reunification on 3 October 1990. During this Cold War period, the western portion of Germany was part of the Western bloc. The Federal Republic was created during the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Its (provisional) capital was the city of Bonn. The Cold War era West Germany is sometimes retrospectively historically designated the "Bonn Republic".

Her father is of Quechua-Huachipaeri descent from Peru. Her mother, Saskia Kilcher, is a human rights activist of Swiss-German descent, born in Alaska and raised in Switzerland. Q'orianka has two brothers, Kainoa Kilcher and Xihuaru Kilcher, who both work as actors and stunt performers. Kilcher's maternal grandfather was Ray "Pirate" Genet, a Swiss-born mountaineer who later immigrated to America. Her first-cousin once removed is Grammy-nominated singer Jewel. The founding patriarch of their family in Alaska, Yule Kilcher, was a member of the Alaska Senate and delegate to the Alaskan constitutional conference who was originally from Switzerland. [1]

Quechua people ethnic group

Quechua people or Quecha people, may refer to any or all speakers of the Quechua languages, which originated among the indigenous people of South America. Most Quechua speakers are native to Peru, although there are some significant populations living in Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.

Peru Republic in South America

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Alaska State of the United States of America

Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of the United States West Coast, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east and southeast. Its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population—estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015— is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. United States armed forces bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.

When Kilcher was two years old, she and her mother moved to Kapaʻa, Hawaii, where her brother Kainoa was born. Her father, from whom she is estranged, was absent for much of her life. Growing up in Hawaii, Kilcher was inspired by the local culture and started hula dancing at the age of five. She also trained in Tahitian dance and West African, as well as ballet, hip hop and modern dance. In 1997, Kilcher won Ballet Hawaii's Young Choreographer Award at age seven.[ citation needed ]

Hawaii State of the United States of America

Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state to have joined the United States, having received statehood on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state geographically located in Oceania, although it is governed as a part of North America, and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.

Hula Polynesian dance

Hula is a Polynesian dance form accompanied by chant (oli) or song. It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The hula dramatizes or portrays the words of the oli or mele in a visual dance form.

She was selected to compete at the international Tahitian Dance Competition in San Jose, California in 1996 and 1997.[ citation needed ] She performed in over fifty professional dance performances island wide.[ citation needed ] As member of the Waikiki Singers, she was chosen to be the Soprano Soloist, performing Schubert's Mass in G and Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti.[ citation needed ] At the age of six years, Kilcher was the first child to study classical voice at the University of Hawaii with Laurance Paxton. She also studied Drama with Bill Ogilvie at the Diamond Head Theater. At six years, her mother booked her at venues as featured singer and opening act to some of Hawaii's greats, such as Willie K. (Kahaiali'i) among others.[ citation needed ]

San Jose, California City in California, United States

San Jose, officially the City of San José, is the economic, cultural and political center of Silicon Valley, and the largest city in Northern California. With an estimated 2017 population of 1,035,317, it is the third-most populous city in California and the tenth-most populous in United States. Located in the center of the Santa Clara Valley, on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay, San Jose covers an area of 179.97 square miles (466.1 km2). San Jose is the county seat of Santa Clara County, the most affluent county in California and one of the most affluent counties in the United States. San Jose is the most populous city in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area, which contain 7.7 million and 8.7 million people respectively.

University of Hawaii college and university system in the US state of Hawaii

The University of Hawaiʻi system is a public, co-educational college and university system that confers associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees through three university campuses, seven community college campuses, an employment training center, three university centers, four education centers and various other research facilities distributed across six islands throughout the state of Hawaii in the United States. All schools of the University of Hawaii system are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The U.H. system's main administrative offices are located on the property of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Honolulu CDP.

In 1999, her mother moved the family to California. Kilcher started to showcase her talent busking on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Third Street Promenade

The Third Street Promenade is an upscale pedestrian mall shopping, dining and entertainment complex in the downtown area of Santa Monica, California. It is considered a premier shopping and dining district on the Westside and draws crowds from all over the Greater Los Angeles Area. Due to easy access to Downtown Los Angeles via the Expo Line's terminus station, its proximity to historic Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Ocean coupled with Los Angeles's mild climate, it is also a popular tourist destination.


At the age of nine, Kilcher was cast as Choire Who in Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas .[ citation needed ] She was 12 when she received a full scholarship to the Musician's Institute in Hollywood, where she studied vocal performance, music theory and song-writing. She is an accomplished Blackbelt in Wushu, Kung Fu and a Stunt performer and has trained at the National Wushu Training Center and Impact Stunts.[ citation needed ]

At 14, Q'orianka portrayed Pocahontas in the Academy Award-nominated motion picture The New World (2005). Her performance was critically acclaimed and won her the National Board of Review's best breakthrough performance of 2006, the 2006 Alma Award for best Latin American actress in a feature film, numerous other award nominations.[ citation needed ] The film was released in December 2005 to mixed reviews. [2] The film was a critical success, receiving several positive reviews and award nominations, but it was shown in only 811 theatres worldwide. It yielded a relatively low box office gross. [3] [4]

In the summer of 2006, Kilcher began filming the independent film The Power of Few, which she produced through her own production company, Entertainment On-Q. [5] She played the title role in the feature film Princess Kaiulani . The film, about the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, was released in May 2010 to negative reviews. However, Kilcher received positive feedback for her role, with Roger Ebert writing that "she evokes great depth and sympathy in her role and seems to have created Kaiulani from the inside out." [6]

In 2009, Kilcher performed in The People Speak , a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of common people in the U.S., based on historian Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States". [7]

In 2010, Kilcher played Pinti in the family drama Shouting Secrets. The film won Best Film at the 36th American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco and got Kilcher a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Kilcher also portrayed Kerrianne Larkin, daughter of Chibs Telford and Fiona Larkin, in the television series Sons of Anarchy .

In 2011, Kilcher played Tiger Lily in Neverland , a version of the Peter Pan story that aired on the Syfy Channel.

In 2013, Kilcher portrayed Rayen in Running Deer , an award-winning short film produced and directed by Brent Ryan Green through Toy Gun Films. [8]


Kilcher has made a commitment to human rights and environmental activism. She speaks on behalf of causes to achieve what she regards as environmental justice and basic human rights. Traveling frequently to speak at youth events, colleges and universities, Kilcher has been a featured keynote speaker for organizations such as Amnesty International, the International Forum on Globalization, [9] [ clarification needed ] Amazon Watch IFIP [10] [ clarification needed ] and the United Nations panel discussions titled "Indigenous Peoples: Human Rights, Dignity and Development with Identity," in collaboration with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.[ citation needed ]

She lends her celebrity, voice and energy as spokeswoman, collaborator and supporter to several international and national NGOs and organizations such as youth ambassador for Amnesty International (Global Youth Ambassador for Woman's Rights), AIDESEP [11] (spokesperson and voice), Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest Federations, the Community School for the Arts foundation (volunteer/spokesperson) and Thursdays Child (youth counselor) Turning The Tides [12] (volunteer/spokesperson), Save Americas Forests, [13] IDEM (South Dakota Youth Project) and is a spokesperson for the American Literacy Campaign.

Working with the National Endowment For the Arts on their "The Big Read" campaign, she will record a book review.[ citation needed ] Kilcher has read Howard Zinn's The People Speak in staged readings. She joined the cast for the first People Speak film series.[ citation needed ]

Kilcher recently[ when? ] launched her own youth-driven human rights and environmental organization "On-q Initiative", [14] to connect young Hollywood with youth activist leaders and projects from around the world in support of environmental sustainability, corporate accountability, and basic human rights. Through her production company, IQ-Films, Kilcher is producing several cause-driven documentaries and youth-programming projects.[ citation needed ]

On June 11, 2009 she visited Lima to support indigenous peoples' rights in the Amazon Bagua, Peru. In 2007, Kilcher won the Brower Youth Award, a premier environmental award, for her work in persuading Occidental Petroleum to withdraw from the Peruvian Amazon valley. She received the Young Hollywood Green Award. [15]

On June 1, 2010, Kilcher and her mother were arrested after Kilcher chained herself to the gates in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. while her mother poured black paint on her to signify oil. Kilcher was protesting President Barack Obama's meeting with Peruvian President Alan García, accusing him of selling land in the Amazon rainforest to corporations while suppressing indigenous protests. [16] She and her mother were charged with disorderly conduct. [17] The charges were dropped on June 6, 2011 after they completed community service. [18]

On September 4, 2015, Kilcher was part of a group that sang "Love Song to the Earth" [19] The song aims at raising awareness of climate change, with all proceeds benefiting Friends of the Earth U.S. and the UN Foundation. Kilcher and several "Love Song" singers performed in Washington, DC ahead of Pope Francis' address to the U.S. Congress.


YearFilmRoleDirectorOther notes
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Little Choir Member Ron Howard
2002Madison HeightsMaria BetancourtSharon Miller / Keith SheltonTV series
Episode: "Small World"
2005 The New World Pocahontas (Matoaka, Rebecca Rolfe) Terrence Malick
2007 The Linguists Narrator Documentary shorts on DVD
2009 The People Speak HerselfTony Sacco Documentary
2009 Princess Kaiulani Princess Ka'iulani Marc Forby
2010 Sons of Anarchy Kerrianne LarkinKurt SutterTV series
2011Shouting SecretsPintiKorinna Sehringer
2011 Neverland AayaNick WillingMiniseries
2012Blaze You OutDemiMateo Frazier / Diego Joaquin Lopez Direct-to-video
2012 Firelight CarolineDarnell MartinTV film
ABC (Hallmark)
2012 The Killing MaryTV series
2012 Longmire Ayasha RoundstoneTV series
2013TarantulaGabbyOley SassoneDirect-to-video
2013 The Power of Few AlexaLeone MarucciAlso producer
2013 Running Deer Rayen Brent Ryan Green Short film
2015 Sky Missy Fabienne Berthaud
2015UnnaturalLilyHank BraxtanDirect-to-video
2016Te AtaMary Frances Thompson, also known as Te Ata Fisher Nathan Frankowski
2017 Hostiles Elk Woman Scott Cooper
2017 The Vault Susan Cromwell Dan Bush Direct-to-video
2018 The Alienist Mary PalmerVarious characters8 episodes
2019 Dora and the Lost City of Gold Inca Princess Kawillaka James Bobin Filming

Awards and nominations

2005 NBR Award Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress The New World Won
WAFCA AwardBest Breakthrough PerformanceNominated
2006 ALMA Award Outstanding Actress in a Motion PictureWon
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young ActressNominated
Critics Choice AwardBest Young ActressNominated
CFCA Award Most Promising PerformerNominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Breakthrough PerformanceWon
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film (Comedy or Drama) - Leading Young ActressNominated
2013 Hollywood Music in Media AwardsBest Song - Indie Film / Documentary / Short Free China Won

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  1. "Anchorage Daily News". Another Family Star. Archived from the original on February 6, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2006.
  2. "The New World Box Office Gross".
  3. "The New World Critics Reviews".
  4. "The New World: Awards and Nominations".
  5. Gardner, Chris (June 8, 2006). "Kilcher takes more "Power"". Variety. Retrieved June 11, 2006.
  6. "Roger Ebert: Princess Kaiulani review".
  7. The People Speak
  8. "Award Winning Oklahoma Short Film Running Deer is Now Available on Vimeo on Demand". The Oklahoman . 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  9. IFG web site
  10. International Funders
  11. Aidesep.Org.Pe | Aidesep, pueblos indígenas amazónicos del Perú
  12. Turning the Tides - HOME
  13. Save America's Forests
  14. Peru Youth 4 Truth Archived February 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. YouTube clip
  16. "democracynow.org". Actor Q'orianka Kilcher Arrested at White House Protest - Democracy NOW!. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  17. "nbcwashington.com". "Pocahontas" Paints With All the Color of Oil. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  18. Charge dropped in actress' White House protest [ permanent dead link ], Associated Press, June 6, 2011
  19. "Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi & More Sing a 'Love Song to the Earth' to Support Climate Action". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-10-19.