At this lovely time of Thanksgiving, here at our StoryBook Club, we thought we'd celebrate it by studying the historical tale of "Pocahontas" for the season.
You know, what with all the Pilgrims & American Indians and all.
Oh come on. It's OK to say "American Indian." It really is, because, actually there was a poll done of the native population of peoples in New York State, and the highest percentage of indigenous natives said they preferred "American Indian" to "Native American." (so there).
Anyways, the legend of the 1st Thanksgiving isn't what we've been told. Disney didn't get it right either. But at least the story got out somehow. It's one of the biggest PR blockbusters to raise funding for the Brits to fund the colonists that ever was. So what if it got skewed with the lack of pesky facts.
Like first off....Pocahontas wasn't her real name. It was a nickname meaning "unruly child" or "spoiled brat." Pocahontas WAS an Indian Princess. She was the daughter of Chief Powhatan in what is now Virginia. She had an idyllic childhood and when she was ELEVEN, ships came and she met John Smith.
And hey....John Smith was an older man.
Pocahontas was 11, yet SHE ended up saving HIS life. Pocahontas stepped in and risked her own life to save that man.
Pocahontas was also lied to, kidnapped, bartered for, most likely raped and used by her captors, and then when her father wouldn't trade arms for hostages...she was deprived of her culture by her captors and taken to another country to be paraded around like a freak show exhibit at Ringling Brothers.
"Step right up. SEE the INDIAN PRINCESS...A Savage turned Civilized...."
Some people don't know royalty when it bites them in the ass.
She was a true, kind and smart Peace Maker.
If it weren't for Pocahontas, the white settlers would've starved for those first few "Thanksgivings." If they had starved and died...maybe Virginia wouldn't have been a happening thing. Maybe England wouldn't have sent more and more people over here to colonize.
Maybe there wouldn't even BE an AMERICA without Pocahontas!
Yet, she was stripped of her culture, not given any more prestige than an oddity and for years she didn't even have a marker at her burial site in ENGLAND. That's right. One of the greatest women in our history, who fought to make peace in her own land, wasn't even buried here.
And guess what? She only lived to be 21 years old before her life ended (most likely with pneumonia) as she was basically "suffocated" by the English culture and their ways.
No more the free spirited cart wheeling girl of the forest. She died in England, far from her home, dressed in corsets and bonnets and with a "Christian" name of Rebecca Rolfe. Her husband married her for her lands and after he dropped her off in Gravesend, England (a most ominous location for a death, eh?) where this statue stands today.
John Rolfe high tailed it back to the place where he met Pocahontas, to claim her lands by rights as her husband and promptly planted tobacco all over it.
But I thank her for her bravery, her belief that people could be good (even if those she fought for, sold her out...) there are millions of descendants here (including 2 First Ladys) who are related by blood to her.
Pocahontas was a strong willed, brave, Peace Maker and she tried to help two clashing communities come together to live and thrive.
Her story makes me want to learn more about our Native cultures here.
These are a brave race that the white man sold out, used, abused and terrorized and tried to obliterate by decimating their culture and family lives and environments. It only makes me feel more hungry to learn about them, to honor them, to grow in love towards them and our Mother Earth whom they have tried to care for, while greedy men leave oily tracks and wipe out forests.
We have to wake up and learn to be more caring for the Earth and for each other.
Pocahontas LIVES in every man, woman and child who cares about such things.
We honored her last night with learning as much as we could about her stories. Stories fraught with lies, twists, propaganda and spin. But knowing that she was just a girl....who did such amazing things...it gives me hope.
Disney didn't need to concoct a love story between Pocahontas and John Smith. The story didn't need sex to sell it.
It only needed TRUTH to be shown for our own daughters and sons to admire COURAGE.
We ate and drank at our friend Kate's house on this OUR Thanksgiving for StoryBook. We here, are our Chosen Family of members and we dined on delicious American Indian recipes and gifts of the autumn in Kate's new home.
We are grateful. We are so very grateful.
And we thank Pocahontas for reminding us to try to just get along and share what we have too!
Happy Thanksgiving from us here at StoryBook Club!
Next month, is the busy month of Hanukkah and Christmas...so we will be having an outing and going to see the new released December movie:
Blessings to you all.
Aho. (Which is a Native American saying that is similar to "amen".)