Q'Orianka Kilcher Teams Up with the ILO to Raise Awareness About Indigenous People

In a YouTube video, the actress calls on countries around the world to ratify an international pact recognizing the rights of some 370 million native peoples.

It’s not one of the world’s major holidays, but Friday is the International Day of Indigenous People’s and this year, actress Q'Orianka Kilcher has teamed up with the World Labor Organization, a UN agency, to mark the occasion with a YouTube video drawing attention to the plight of native people’s around the world.

The German-born Kilcher’s father is a Peruvian of Quechua-Huachipaeri descent and she immersed herself in the indigenous culture of Hawaii, where she grew up. She’s probably best known for her role in Pocahontas in the 2005 film, The New World. She’s long been active on behalf of the 370 million indigenous people scattered from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego and from the Andes to the hill country of Burma. "Many of them live in poverty, face discrimination and struggle to make their voices heard," Kilcher said.

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This year’s celebratory day is meant to draw attention to their collective efforts on each other’s behalf and to push additional nations to sign on to the International Labor Organization’s 25-year pact establishing their basic rights.

As Kilcher, who once busked as hula dancer in the Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, put it, “So far, only 22 countries have ratified this important convention. We can do better.”