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Pocahontas & The Virginia Indians Online Course

Class #8 - Pocahontas- Legacy, Myths, Realities and Relevance

This is the last class where the life, legend and legacy of the woman most famously known as Pocahontas is the main subject of the course content, as students will view the third session of the 2018 VMHC Pocahontas Symposium titled Pocahontas – Legacy, Myths, Realities and Relevance. This session is longer than the previous sessions (1 hour 20 minutes), so this is the only video portion of the course content for Class #8.

In this final symposium session all of the panelists are gathered on the stage, moderated by Upper Mattaponi Chief Emeritus Kenneth Adams. Students will hear a variety of perspectives about Pocahontas, including a discussion of her relevance today. As this is the summary discussion for the Symposium, as well as the summary discussion on Pocahontas for this course, students are encouraged to do a little Thoughtwork before watching the video to assess your view of the legacy and relevance of Pocahontas.

As you have seen in previous classes, one of the legacies of Pocahontas which are available to promote her relevance today are the statues of Pocahontas. So far students have seen the statues of Pocahontas at St. George's Church, at Jamestown Island and in Gloucester, Virginia (pictured above). Class #8 course content will offer links to pictures and information on other statues and artistic representations of Pocahontas, in England and America - students are encouraged to consider the wide range of styles and mediums for these commemorations of Pocahontas.


Rick Tatnall


Formal Class Content

VMHC Session 3: Pocahontas

Legacy, Myths, Realities and Relevance (2018 / 83 minutes)

Statues and Artistic Commemorations of Pocahontas

There are many ways the visual arts have been used to portray Pocahontas over the years.  Below are links to three very different artistic presentations of Pocahontas and a link to a set of images of Pocahontas, including using her image to sell commercial products.

  1. On a brick wall, part of the Syon House estate in Brentford UK

  2. A statue of Pocahontas in Pocahontas, Arkansas

  3. A statue of Pocahontas in Pocahontas, Iowa


A set of images from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s Pocahontas Imagined exhibit (2017)

Since statues became an obsession in 2020, students are asked to consider the thoughts presented in the following blog commentary posted July 2020 on the University of Kent website (Gravesend and St. George's Church are located in the County of Kent, England). In his commentary Professor Coll Thrush discusses the world's current obsession with statues and directs attention to the statue of Pocahontas in the Princess Garden of St. George's Church. Professor Thrush offers some keen insights, delving into the purpose of statues by those who erect them and posing some interesting questions about the statue at St. George's.  This commentary offers another aspect of the relevance of the legacy of Pocahontas in 2021. A point of clarification from our good friend Rev. Chris Stone, the Powwow described by Professor Thrush in Gravesend in 2006 was a private affair, not a public one.

Class #8 Thoughtwork

(to be done after reviewing all class content)

  • Thanks to the VMHC students have now heard from a set of experts representing the Virginia Tribes, academia and the faith community discussing the life, legend and legacy of Pocahontas. If you had been at the Pocahontas Symposium in 2018, what questions would you have liked to ask of which panelists? Motivated students who really have a question(s) they want answered are encouraged to send them to Rick Tatnall and he will try and get an answer from the chosen panelist.

  • Students have now been presented with a full examination of the woman most famously known as Pocahontas. What do you think is Pocahontas’ greatest legacy? Do you see Pocahontas as relevant today? If so, do you see ways that Pocahontas is relevant to you and your life, now and into the future?

  • What do you wish for your own legacy? Compare the legacy you desire for yourself with the legacy of Pocahontas. What do you two have in common?

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