Q’orianka Kilcher, Quechua, famous for playing Pocahontas in The New World, was arrested on Thursday in Virginia for participating an a protest against the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Negotiations over the controversial trade agreement were taking place at a golf resort in Leesburg, Virginia; Kilcher was filming a protest occurring outside the hotel when she was handcuffed. Before her arrest, Kilcher made the following statement, according to a Rainforest Action Network release:
The Trans Pacific Partnership would be devastating for people around the world and it is being negotiated in complete secrecy to hide the content, because these agreements would never see the light of day if US citizens and congress were allowed to see what is being proposed in our names. While hundreds of corporate advisors have access to the information contained within these documents, the American public, the media and even members of congress do not. This sort of secrecy is highly undemocratic and is a complete disregard of all the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution to avoid exactly this sort of thing.
The Trans Pacific Partnership has been criticized on a number of grounds; for one, the negotiations strike opponents are unusually secretive, as Kilcher’s statement indicates. The draft proposals are said to include excessive provisions for international enforcement of copyright and intellectual property law that would overrule established intellectual property practices. It has been suggested that this could have wide-ranging effects, including restricting the distribution of medicine and criminalizing such common pop-cultural practices as parody and cosplay. A group called StopTheTrap warns that fines and punishments could follow from internet use deemed illegal under the terms of the TPP.
Kilcher is an experienced advocate for the environment and human rights, having worked with a long list of organizations that includes Amnesty International, the International Forum on Globalization, Amazon Watch, and the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples. In 2010, Kilcher and her mother were arrested in front of the White House after she chained herself to the gate to protest selling of Peruvian rain forest land to corporations. Kilcher will next be seen in American theaters as Summer Sunshine in Manson Girls, a film about the women associated with Charles Manson in the summer of 1969.