Posted in March 2013

Representations of Pocahontas

Representations of Pocahontas “Pocahontas is a babe.” – Mel Gibson, voice of Captain John Smith in Disney’s Pocahontas (Edwards 147) Van de Passe, Simon. “Matoaka als Rebecca.” 1616             This engraving is known as the only portrait of Pocahontas done from life. Rayna Green describes this engraving, “The most famous portrait of Pocahontas, the only … Continue reading

The Mattaponi Oral Tradition

The story of Pocahontas has been told from a myriad of angles, from John Smith, to historians throughout the centuries, to the Disney interpretation, but what happened to the Native American voice? Linwood Custalow and Angela Daniels’ published The True Story of Pocahontas in 2007 and the novel is the first Native American version of … Continue reading

Pocahontas After the Movie Ends

The end of Disney’s Pocahontas leaves us with John Smith sailing off into the sunset with Pocahontas looking after him, but then what happens? You could watch Pocahontas II, but that’s about as historically accurate as the first movie, and the songs aren’t nearly as memorable. Unfortunately, there is even less directly sourced information on … Continue reading

The Powhatans

What do you know about Pocahontas’s tribal background? In the Disney movie, Pocahontas’s father is referred to as Chief Powhatan, the leader of Pocahontas’s tribe. He was an actual historical figure named Wahunsenecawh who formed a confederation of over 30 tribes in the area we know today as Virginia. The term Powhatan refers to this … Continue reading

The True Role of John Smith?

The True Role of John Smith? John Smith (1580-1631) was an English soldier, explorer, and author who was instrumental in the founding of the Jamestown colony in 1607. Much of his involvement in the Pocahontas story actually comes from his own personal letters and travel writings, which have been intensely scrutinized and now thought to … Continue reading

Modern Misrepresentation

Other posts on this blog have worked to show the vastly numerous and varied representations and misrepresentations of Pocahontas and how many of these different accounts have contributed to the inaccurate portrayals of Native Americans throughout history. Many people who grew up watching Disney’s Pocahontas can remember how strange it was to learn how historically … Continue reading