Skip to comments.How Much Do We Really Know About Pocahontas?
Posted on 11/03/2013 3:30:17 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
Historian Tony Horwitz tries to separate the truth from the myths that have been built up about the Jamestown princess
Pocahontas is the most myth-encrusted figure in early America, a romantic princess who saves John Smith and the struggling Jamestown colony. But this fairy tale, familiar to millions today from storybook and film, bears little resemblance to the extraordinary young woman who crossed cultures and oceans in her brief and ultimately tragic life.
The startling artwork (above), the oldest in the National Portrait Gallery collection, is the only image of Pocahontas taken from life. Made during her visit to London in 1616, the engraving depicts a stylish lady in beaver hat and embroidered velvet mantle, clutching an ostrich feather fan. Only her high cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes hint at her origins far from London. The inscription is also striking; it identifies her not as Pocahontas, but as Matoaka and Rebecca. In short, there seems little to link this peculiar figure, peering from above a starched white ruff, with the buck-skinned Indian maiden of American lore. So which image is closer to the woman we know as Pocahontas?
She was born Matoaka, in the mid-1590s, the daughter of Powhatan, who ruled a native empire in what is now eastern Virginia. Powhatan had dozens of children, and power in his culture passed between males. But she did attract special notice for her beauty and liveliness; hence Pocahontas, a nickname meaning, roughly, playful one. This was also the name she was known by to the English who settled near her home in 1607. John Smith, an early leader in Jamestown, described her as beautiful in feature, countenance, and proportion and filled with wit and spirit.
(Excerpt) Read more at smithsonianmag.com ...
That she likes Jello shots so much that she did 10 of them and passed out on the couch at the Friday Halloween party?
Indian gambling casinos were her idea?
I drove by a trailer park out in Powhatan County the other day and I think that was her out in the yard. She waved.
Poke a what?
Allegations of her musical spirit filling some of the places where Lawrence Welk stayed put forth by reports of the residents. Whereby they claim that “Polkahauntus.”
I know she got me so drunk at the casino one night that I was splitting 10s on the blackjack table.
I know she’s probably a distant cousin (my family is Pamunkey, of the Powhatan nation). A print of that engraving hangs in the church on our “reservation”.
Yeah, most of the Pocahontas stories are just that, stories. My Nana used to laugh at them, and the Disney movie was ridiculous.
She was Elizabeth Warren’s cousin.
Pocahontas is an interesting person. Her line almost died out as she only had one Son and I think only one survived for several generations then one had a bunch of kids and then her descendants flourished.
I have read that nearly all the first families of Virginia were descended from her including Robert E. Lee.
Are we talking about Pokeofhontas or Sackofgewea?
By the shores of Gitcheegoomie,
By the shining big sea water,
Lies the crib o’ Pocohantas.
Smithsonian can’t be trusted. They have a political ax to grind.
The first families of Virginia were so interbred that it’s probably true.
She had mild schizophrenia?
Uh, she is a non-Indian, who lied about it and got elec..Oh,no; that’s Fauxcahontas. Sorry.
Hollywood won’t care, they could make a 200-episode series about someone based on a single sentence in a diary.
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