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The True Story of Pocahontas > Thoughts and Discussion

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Smart | 38 comments I just finished the book.
I decided for the heck of it to watch the Pochahontas Disney film l don’t want to turn this thread into critiquing the movie but just the first 2 minutes into the film it already pissed me off. A Disney film for children which almost immediately upon opening glorifies killing the indian savages. Grrrrrr.
I also did a Wikipedia on her as well and a few instances they mentioned this book and certain accounts that were also stated in the book. I don’t remember really what story was told about her and felt it would be a quick rundown of what was told about her from the other perspective.

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I can understand that both sides of history want to be the better.
There was a figure that I remember hearing years ago. I don’t remember where I heard it, I just remember the numbers which were: there is 70% fiction to 30% fact in stories that were passed down generation to generation as they were retold to fit the needs or reflect the state of the times in the world that they were retold in. Do I feel that this book is that way? No, not entirely. I know or have a good understanding that Indigenous people take their history and how it is told and how accurate it is as well as who they entrust it to very seriously. In knowing that I believe that I can base the story told here in the opposite possibly balancing it 80% fact to 20% fiction just for the sake of age and some things over that time being lost or forgotten and so forth.
Was Pochahontas not thrilled about an arranged marriage to Kocoum? It was their society and how they did things but I would have to say who wants to be told who they are going to marry? Did she like John Smith? Who knows. I feel it is a bit convenient that John Smith became Werowance of the Englsh in the eyes of the Powahtan people and then had an accident with gunpowder that forced him to go back to England and that the English then told Pochahontas that he was dead. Did he get too close to the Powahatan people or Pochahontas or both for the colonists to allow? Or did John Smith know what was eventually going to happen to the Powahtan and Pochahontas and decide that he didn’t want to be there to witness it because he knew he had done wrong or just didn’t want to face the deeds that were done, first hand.

The colonists had to know that by holiding Pochahontas that Wahunsenaca would not attack Jamestown to risk her death which obviously gave them the advantage. It gave them the time they needed to essentially do what they needed to survive the colony without Powahtan resistance.
The Powahtan were honorable people who met dishonorable, deceitful people and could not understand or believe that people could be that despicable and through that did not know how to react or even allow a doubt to enter their minds as to the believability of what the colonists told them.
Wikipedia disputes the rape of Pocahontas stating that that would not have been allowed to happened to her because it would affect the relationship between the Powahtan and the colonists. That I take as B.S. I would not put it past the colonists to do such an act especially if they had no intent on returning Pocahontas to her people and wanted to break her psychologically and force her to convert to Christianity. The feeling of guilt and repentance of sins are a huge part of Christianity. They probably forced that thought process into her saying that she could not go back to her people after being raped due to shame or some crap like that but their Christian god could save her and forgive her sins (of which none were created by her). Again, who knows?
I can believe the account of the colonists bringing her back to England to “show her off” to make things look like everything is all good and right at the colonies between the Powahtan and the colonists in order to keep investors flowing money in and so on.
Her sudden death on the voyage back is also too contrived. The colonists got what they needed out of her. Paraded her around and again made it look like all was well. They got their fresh income flow and didn’t need Pocahontas anymore. If they returned and allowed Pocahontas to go back home after all she had been through it would have started a war (which happened anyway) so they killed her. I agree with the book account, if it was a sickness it would have shown itself long before the voyage back to Virginia. I can understand not bringing her remains back to Virginia and burying her in England. Having a body on the ship for months would not have been pleasant but still she should have been laid to rest in Virginia with her people.
The book shows how people are used and taken advantage of as they are even now. It is disgusting and ridiculous how greed can have that effect on people and make them do what they do.
For now I will end this because it is getting very long and drawn out. It’s time to let someone else write something. :)


message 2: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 120 comments Mod
@Robert, your Spoilers don't seem to work, both via mobile phone and on a computer.


message 3: by Pam (new)

Pam | 93 comments Robert wrote: "I decided for the heck of it to watch the Pochahontas Disney film l don’t want to turn this thread into critiquing the movie but just the first 2 minutes into the film it already pissed me off. A Disney film for children which almost immediately upon opening glorifies killing the indian savages. Grrrrrr. .."

I have to re watch, I don't remember it from my childhood days as glorifying slaying. If anything I thought it always pictured killing as awful and weak.


message 4: by Pam (new)

Pam | 93 comments I haven't finished it yet.

But I liked that the start opens with a prayer. It reminded me very much of Homer and his epics, a word to beseeches the muses to bless him and grant him aid as he births the story.


message 5: by Pam (new)

Pam | 93 comments It makes me smile that the initial retelling and authenticity argument starts off with innocent times.

On page 24 " for instance 17th century writing states that Pocahontas played and did cartwheels with the young English boys within the walls of the English fort. This reveals that Pocahontas had not yet reached puberty. When young people of the Powhatan nation reached puberty, they stopped cartwheeling."

Like, I can just picture a grandfather or a grandmother scorning new teenagers for cartwheeling. And some rebellious teenager pouting and cartwheeling by themselves somewhere like it was some cartwheeling Footloose rebellion moment.

They add some other details later going further into their proof as to why Pocahontas wasn't yet an adult. But it still makes me chuckle fondly that this was not only part of the argument but the first one.


message 6: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 120 comments Mod
I am going to put this here so that everyone can see it:
Feel free to create threads on your own for the books that we will read. One thread might not be enough to discuss a whole book all the time.


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