Monday, April 10, 2006


She gets her own movie and licensed plushes, but let’s discuss Pocahontas for just a minute. (Yes, Burke this is a slight departure from my Sacagawea diatribe but do bear with me.)

In 1607 John Smith set sail with a group of around 200 British sailors, settlers, and gentlemen on a race to beat Spain to settle North America. The men arrived poorly provisioned and in the command of inexperienced gentlemen, who funded the venture and were there to pan for gold in Chesapeake Bay. (Hint: there is NO gold in Chesapeake Bay.) They chose a location on an outcropping into where the James River met the bay and they named their settlement Jamestown.

Meanwhile Powhatan, the local Indian chieftan (Pocahontas’ dad) had heard a disturbing “premonition” from his medicine man. The man predicted that a great devil was mounting up to destroy his people and that the first attacks were coming soon. Powhatan who had enemy nations in the area poised his 1300 clansmen for battle.

A combination of disease (possibly the plague), famine, salt-polluted water, Spanish spies and Indian attack had resulted in rapid death in Jamestown. Within 4-6 months no gold was found and there were approximately 50 men (mostly) alive.

Finally John Smith decided to throw himself upon the mercy of the Indians. He approached them asking for food. Powhatan was very much leaning towards just killing them all. However, John Smith had brought glass beads for trade, and as it turns out Pocahontas had an eye for the shinies. Powhatan seeing Pocahontas’ interest in the beads considered what that could represent to the people and agreed to help John Smith out.

Of course later the Jamestown settlers kidnapped Pocahontas, baptized her, taught her English, renamed her Rebecca, and married her off to a white guy (even though she was already married). Not content to live only a portion of the future of the Native American People in 10 short years, Pocahontas took it upon herself to go to England in order to find the pox-filled blankets that the Jamestown settlers had neglected to bring and promptly died of TB or small pox at age 21(ish).

On the down side Pocahontas played her small part in creating a world where Kevin Federline can produce his own CD

(illegally sampling She Blinded Me with Science); on the up-side, she got a nice sneak-peak at what was coming.

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