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Review of Pocahontas by Grace Steele Woodward

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    Many moons ago, an Indian girl was not yet born but there were many problems with Indians and the white man as the Indians. This unborn child would become a huge part of colony history between the Indians and the English; this child was to be recognized in history by many different names the most famous name would be Pocahontas. The book I read was about Pocahontas by Grace Steele Woodward. This book covers many different subjects in Pocahontass life. The book begins with a background of The Powhatans, Pocahontass people. She was not just a little Indian girl but the daughter of a very powerful chief. Before she was born Chief Powhatan claim many of the lands around and near the James Pensile and up through the Chesapeake Bay area. He kept a tight fist with all of his new tribes that he has acquired during his conquest; by placing family members in charge of the new land. Powhatan had the respect of all his people and his people knew not to try to over throw him or question his authority.

    The Powhatans Indian tribe were part of the woodland culture; a culture of pressure-flaked projectile point, stone-headed hatchets and war clubs, and primitive farm tools constructed of stone and bone. The Wood land culture was actually an amalgam of various tribes that belonged to different linguistic families not related by blood, their only common ties being certain tools and implements marked by great stands of pine, cypress, and walnut trees and productive in cleared areas of pumpkin, maize, and beans The Powhatans were made up of different combinations of Indian tribes some included the Cherokees, Iroquois, Monacans, Siuuan, Choctaws, Creeks, Chickasaws, and the Muskhogean. The Powhatans dress was different between the sexes and classes of the tribe. Members of the royal household would wear many feather and deerskins on their bodies and usually painted themselves in bright colors.

    Men of lower standards wore just breechcloths covering their privities; it was usually made of rabbit skins or beaver skins. Pocahontas was born into the Powhatan tribes in either 1596 or 1597 historians arent exactly sure when she was born. Her place of birth is to be Werowocomoco, Powhatans principal residence until 1609. Powhatan had many wives and historians arent sure of Pocahontass real mother, her whereabouts and name is unknown. Pocahontas had two names given to her at birth. Pocahontas, the name given to her by her father, was translated by English to mean Bright Stream Between Two Hills but in her own language it meant Little Wanton. Her secret name only known by her tribesmen was Matoax meaning Little Snow Feather. During The first days of Jamestown, Pocahontas started to watch and observed the new strangers in her land. She starts to see how they ran life and govern themselves. Pocahontas was still very young when the first settles land at Jamestown.

    When she starting visiting the colony there were only about 100 Englishmen, the Anglican chaplain, and the twelve labors. Pocahontas was mostly intrigue with Captain John Smith. Smith was a dashing young 26-year-old. Captain Newport arrested Smith on route to Jamestown for inciting mutiny among some of the crewmen on the ship Susan Constant. Smith was released after landing at Jamestown but Smith could not take the oath of allegiance to King James or sit with the council until June 10, when he was cleared of all charges. John Smith, to Pocahontas, was the most approachable of all the English colonists. He took the initiative to learn the Powhatan language and try to communicate between the Indians and the colonists. Smith also knew that the Indians could help the colonists in their time of need.

    Pocahontass father was a little less interested in talking t the white man. He felt that they would bring destruction to his great empire and his region. He really didnt want anything to do with them. He had John Smith capture and was to have Smith executed by clubbing, but Pocahontas knew she could not let that happened. She covered John Smiths body with hers saving him from the death of clubbing. This changed her father attitude for awhile but he was still uncertain with what the white man wanted. Soon after Smith had left Jamestown the Indian trouble got worse. Not many Englishmen understood the language of the Indians. Some thought all would be lost; until Lord De La Warr thought about abducting some Indian children and taking them to England to learn the ways of the English. This ideal didnt go over well with the other members of the council. The English did however, took Pocahontas from Powhatan. The English taught her to be an English lady by wearing their dress and teaching her about the Church. In the spring of 1914 she was converted to the church of England and renamed Rebecca.

    She married John Rolfe in April 5,1614. They the moved of to England where Pocahontas, now Rebecca Rolfe, went to the English court to meet the king and queen of England. She was now an international figure in the peace between the Indians and the English people. She gave birth to a son in 1615 named Thomas. On the day she was to return to Virginia, March21, 1616, she died from either pneumonia or perhaps tuberculosis. They buried her one the same day. The peace between England and the Indians stayed steady for many years after her death. I felt this book was informative and gave a little more insight into Pocahontass life. I feel this book could have stay more on her life than the ones of that IN Jamestown, but I realize that their stories were part of Pocahontass existence. If it would not be for the colonization of Jamestown we would never have know about Pocahontas and might not even be where we are today. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Indian history and Pocahontas. Bibliography:BibliographyWoodward, Grace Steele. Pocahontas. New York, NY: MJF Books Fine Communication.1969

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