Occupation: Interior Decorator
Residence: Chatham, MA
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/11/17
Primary Language: English
The story of Pocahontas and the reason I know and was told the story is because…. supposedly I am related to her. Her story is that when the Europeans, English people, came to Jamestown, long, long ago, it was a harsh, harsh climate and environment, and they did not know how to survive and she was the princess of the Powhatan Tribe, she was a young girl though, and her father was chief… of the Powhatan Tribe, and she was very curious about the settlement and, um, was kinda always, you know, peering in and looking around, and finally she got braver and braver, um, came into the village, the people invited her in, but really, these people– the settlers– had no idea how to live in this climate and when winter hit, it was super harsh. And they didn’t know what the land had to offer, I don’t even think they knew what sweet potatos were, they’d probably never seen corn before– things like that. But the Indian people knew how to live, uh, they’d been there for millenia, so they– winter was not an issue for them, but it was killing all the Jamestown people. And so, um, Pocahontas, who’d kinda befriended them, I think she was kinda a pet, and particularly to John Smith. So anyway, Pocahontas teaches these people how to live, but her father did not like her running over to the white men’s camp, and she had particularly befriended John Smith, and he didn’t approve of that at all. So, I guess, John Smith– you know they were exploring and took a group of people out to the wilderness to look around and the Indians captured them cause they didn’t like the white people. And I’m telling this so badly haha cause now I’m realizing that, like, Chief Powhatan didn’t know that Pocahontas had been sneaking into their village and he didn’t know that she had befriended any of those people. So, uh, all he knew was that the white people were bad and he was afraid of them and thought they were bad people and so when he captured John Smith and his crew, he was gonna kill him, they were gonna kill them all. So, supposedly, he was gettin’ ready to cut off John Smith’s head and Pocahontas came up on the scene and rescued them. Said “Ohh, you can’t!” She threw her body in front of the hatchet or whatever, the axe, and said, “No, no, no, you can’t do this, you cannot do this!” And she protected John Smith from her father and from the Indians. And then… the Indians helped, because of Pocahontas, the Indians helped the white people survive there, for the winter. And that was the way it was told to me by my parents, and they said we should be so proud cause we were related to her…. and that she did such a huge thing– the beginning of a civilization.”
I had obviously heard of Pocahontas before, but I had never heard just a detailed telling of the story like this one I received from my mother’s childhood friend, Mary. It was very cool to learn that she was a descendant of Pocahontas. I was a little skeptical of this at first– Mary is white–, but she had proof. A couple years ago, her son’s biology class went on a field trip to a lab to code for a sequence of DNA that was found in all Asian people. At the end of the day, her son– who is white– and two other Asian kids were the only people to have the sequence in their DNA. Surprised, Mary’s son, asked how this could be possible. He didn’t have any Asian heritage that he knew of. One of the lab’s scientist asked if had any Native American blood in his family. The scientist explained that Native Americans originally crossed a land bridge to North America from Asia. Baffled, Mary’s son told the scientist that his mom had always claimed their family was descendants of the Powhatan tribe.