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Pocahontas & The Virginia Indians Online Course

Class #3 - Pocahontas Revealed

Building on the information and perspective offered in Class #2 with the Smithsonian’s Pocahontas: Beyond the Myth video, Class #3 offers more objective information and perspectives from the folks at NOVA, longtime collaborators with PBS, with their video from 2007 called Pocahontas Revealed. In this video you will see some familiar faces and hear some familiar storylines presented in classes #1 and #2. You will also be introduced to some new ideas and possibilities, as well as different ways to view the woman most famously known as Pocahontas.

One of those familiar faces in the NOVA video is Chief Anne Richardson, who is also a subject in our 2nd video offering in Class #3 with Pocahontas descendant Margaret Gunn from Williamsburg, Virginia. This 2nd video was produced by our PBS affiliate Virginia Public Media (VPM) and was a part of a series they call Virginia Currents. The video was shot during the Gloucester Pocahontas Festival in November 2019 and will offer some other views of Gloucester’s Pocahontas statue and mural.

Recently the Pocahontas Project was introduced to an encyclopedia-like resource about the history, myth, art and legend of Pocahontas in the form of the Pocahontas Lives! website. This website, a fountain of information that is still a work in progress, is the result of an extraordinary research effort by Kevin Miller, who the Pocahontas Project has dubbed the Professor of Pocahontas .  Kevin lives in Yokohama, Japan and is an Associate Professor specializing in Applied Linguistics @ Tsurumi University. Class #3 begins with a student video from Kevin in Japan - like all good professors, Kevin is always a student. In his video Kevin describes how he became so involved with Pocahontas and offers a quick tutorial for his amazing website.

As its "shout out" video from a place named for or connected to Pocahontas, Class #3 offers the weblink leading students to the Pocahontas Lives! website. We suggest you spend some time investigating the incredible amount of information Kevin has compiled related to Pocahontas. Rev. Chris Stone referred to the website as "elegant" and we agree - Kevin has built a very beautiful, functional and extremely informative website about Pocahontas. We expect students will go back to this website time and time again.


Rick Tatnall

Student of the course video, discussing why Pocahontas is important to them- Kevin Miller, the Professor of Pocahontas, from Yokohama, Japan

Formal Class Content

For four centuries, Americans have adored her as a romantic fairy-tale heroine, but who was the real Pocahontas? As the nation’s birthplace marks its 400th birthday, NOVA celebrates with an illuminating new view of this legendary figure—and gives television audiences their first look inside the recently discovered sacred village of Werowocomoco ("Place of Chiefs") in present-day Virginia, where the longhouse in which Pocahontas first met the colonial leader John Smith in 1607 is being unearthed.

Historians, archeologists, and the descendants of Virginia’s colonial-era Indians are finally piecing together the intriguing true story behind her alluring myth. Did this young princess save the captured Smith from certain death at the hands of her chiefly father? Did she act on her own? Or was she part of a bigger plan to bind together two cultures in the middle of an epic clash? "Pocahontas Revealed" investigates these questions.

NOVA Video: Pocahontas Revealed (2007 / 56 minutes)

  •  Click Here for Commentary and additional resources for NOVA Pocahontas Revealed

The Central Virginia connection to PBS, Virginia Public Media (VPM), formerly known as the Community Idea Stations, has a long-running docu-series called Virginia Currents that connects viewers with the communities, citizens, culture and curious aspects of life in Virginia. Last November at the Gloucester Pocahontas Festival host Amy Lacey interviewed Chief Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Indian Tribe and Margaret Gunn, a descendant of Pocahontas who lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Click Here for VPM Virginia Currents interview with Chief Anne Richardson and Pocahontas Descendant Margaret Gunn (2019 / 4.5 minutes)

Class #3 Thoughtwork

(to be done after reviewing all class content)

  • Having seen the objective overviews from the Smithsonian and NOVA, Students are asked to fully consider the historically accurate account of the life of Pocahontas. What historic details from the Smithsonian video that are important to your view of her life were confirmed in the NOVA video? What new details or possibilities were presented by the Pocahontas Revealed video? What questions or uncertainties from the Smithsonian video were amplified by the NOVA video?

  • Chief Anne Richardson said, “We see ourselves in a cycle, we see ourselves as a part of the family of the earth.” Students are asked to consider how they view themselves in the “earth” context as presented by Chief Anne. What changes would and could occur if every human shared this worldview?

  • In the first 3 classes Students have learned about the long search for the Powhatan place of power called Werowocomoco. From what you have learned, what archaeological evidence supports the presence of Wahunsenacawh and the Powhatan at the chosen location of Werowocomoco in Gloucester County?

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