The Globe profiles Q’orianka Kilcher, who will play Pocahontas in the upcoming movie The New World:
At age 14 and a veritable acting novice, Kilcher was cast as Pocahontas after an international search for an age-appropriate, indigenous-culture actress. Though she lives with her Swiss-Alaskan mother in Los Angeles and studies music, her father is a Peruvian Indian of Quecha/Huachapaeri ancestry.
I assume that since the Algonquian tribes (including the one that Pocahontas belonged to) were the first to encounter the English, they got reamed more thoroughly than almost any other indigenous American group, so a director looking for an actress from one of those tribes wouldn’t have very many candidates at the audition.
Still…look at a frigging map! This is like casting Robert De Niro as Peter the Great and congratulating yourself for finding an actual European actor to play this important figure from European history.