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POCAHONTAS REVISITED

Racism, history, and popular culture:

Everyone knows that Pocahontas saved the life of John Smith by stopping his execution. She had fallen in love with him, except that she was only about 10. John Smith’s first journal entry does not mention her involvement. Only years later did he make the claim. But it was okay, she was just an Indian princess. John Smith did change her age to 13 or 14, back then I suppose a marriageable age. And he wrote of another girl rescuing him from non-Christian Turks, so few people believe his story.

 

By Mattaponi tradition, Pocahontas married Kocoum, a Patawomeck chief’s brother. Though William Strachey wrote about the marriage, Disney and everyone ignored her first marriage to a heathen Indian. They lived with the Patawomeck and had a child Ka-Okee, Little Goose. Many of the Patawomeck are descendants, including singer Wayne Newton.

 

Pocahontas died young under strange circumstances. Her death has been described as illness on the voyage home. Except that she died when the ship was on the Thames River, hardly leaving time for her to be ill. The Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes insist that she was poisoned to prevent her from returning home. The English colonists wanted Mattaponi and Pamunkey lands.

I plan to write about her life, making it as close to Mattaponi/Pamunkey traditions as i can.

[the painting of her is controversial, but it is all we have]

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I have a question. Most everyone has heard of the traditional/Disney-inspired Pocahontas, rescuer of Captain John Smith and so on.

The Mattaponi tribe has another version of her life: Her birth name was Matoaka,“flower between two streams.” She usually went by Amonute, meaning unknown. Pocahontas was a nickname meaning “playful one.” She married Kocoum and had a baby girl. The story turns ugly: Kocoum murdered, Pocahontas kidnapped & taken to England for ransom. In England, she was poisoned.

Can I write a children’s story out of the Mattaponi version?

http://www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/pocahontas

https://www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/pocahontas-her-life-and-legend.htm

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