Pocahontas

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Pocahontas

Many people have seen or heard of the Disney film production Pocahontas. For those that believe the film’s accuracy to be completely and utterly valid, it is simply not the case. Disney’s Pocahontas holds some truth, but more fiction than anything else. The aim of this paper is to separate fact from fiction, based on the testimony from Captain John Smith himself, the Powhatan Nation, as well as interpretations from other historians on the true events that took place and shaped Pocahontas’s significant role in this point of history along with others playing a key part in her development.

Background/Overview

Matoaka, or commonly known by her childhood nickname as “Pocahontas” (Morenus, par. 1) was the daughter of Powhatan who was the chief of the Algonquian Indian tribe in the Tidewater region in a land named Virginia by the colonists. She was born in 1596, her nickname means “playful” or “mischievous one”, and she was the most famous Native American of the late sixteenth century. At 11 years of age, she was most commonly known for saving the life of Captain John Smith’s, an English soldier and explorer. She accomplished a lot for her age for years to come, trying very hard to promote the peace between her father’s tribe, the Algonquian Indians with the English colonists (“America, par. 1). She began promoting this peace when she married colonist John Rolfe of Jamestown. She was also the very first Native American to ever travel to Europe.

Colonial Period

Pocahontas’s impact on the colonial period of United States’ history started after John Smith was captured by Powhatan’s tribe to be sentenced to execution while he was on a trading and exploration mission in 1607. Smith actually told his story seventeen years after the rescue occurred (Crazy Horse, par. 5). He writes:

“...Two great stones were brought before Powhatan: then as many as could laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready...
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