The Real Pocahontas

One of the most famous Native American is Pocahontas, who everybody thinks that they know her quite well. However, not a lot of people, if any at all, know the “real” Pocahontas. In fact, Pocahontas is her nickname. The name that she went by before she married John Rolfe and changed her name to Rebecca Rolfe is Matoaka. Moreover, the famous Disney story people know Pocahontas of might not be true at all. The story of the Native American “princess” who saved the handsome John Smith and developed a romantic relationship between the two is not proved and many historians question this story. John Smith, the one who Pocahontas supposedly “saved” never mentions about the incident either until only after Pocahontas dies. In fact, in the early accounts told by John Smith, he claims that he was treated quite well and had a feast with the Powhatans (Sterbenz). Also, Pocahontas never really had a “romantic” relationship with John Smith. She was friendly with him, assisting the Jamestown colony, but no romance.

At the age of 17, Pocahontas was taken prisoner to the Jamestown colonists. She was held captive for more than a year, and got released on the condition of marrying John Rolfe. Then, after she got married to John Rolfe, she got baptized and got a new Christian name called Rebecca. Pocahontas, with John Rolfe, tried to go to England after a few years, which didn’t turn out great as Pocahontas died during the journey. All of these things, whether it be Pocahontas’s “real” name and how she might not have saved John Smith at all, shows the true reality of Pocahontas. Even though she is famous, much of what we know of her is all myth and no fact.

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In my opinion, people focus on myth behind Pocahontas and not reality because of the Disney movie. Honestly, I feel like not that many people know of the “real” Pocahontas and just know the myth and fiction that was created by Disney. It is not like they are not “focusing” on the myth more than the reality, but that they are unaware of the reality. Moreover, myths are more entertaining than the reality, which doesn’t really end in a happy way with Pocahontas and John Smith’s romance but with Pocahontas dying at the age of 21. There are many other reasons on why people focus more on the myth than the reality but these are the two main reasons.