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Pride in Pocahontas

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Introduction by Rick Tatnall, Founder of the Pocahontas Project

The initial inspiration for the concept of The Pocahontas Project (TPP) came from a trip to England in March 2017 to help the community of Gravesend commemorate the 400th anniversary of the funeral of Rebecca Rolfe, aka Pocahontas, at St. George’s Church in Gravesend on March 21, 1617. I led one of three delegations of Virginians who made the trip including students, teachers and the Chiefs of three of Virginia’s Indian Tribes. The British are excellent at pomp & circumstance and there were plenty of both. There was also a sense of pride throughout that was powerfully evident; obvious pride in both the Virginia Indian Tribes and especially in the woman most famously known as Pocahontas.

Gravesend’s Pocahontas 400 commemoration video
(2017 – 13.5 minutes)

Through her voyage to England TPP believes Pocahontas single handedly changed the future course of world history by convincing the investors of the Virginia Company to continue on with their efforts in the “New World”; laying the foundation for the thirteen colonies and ultimately the United States of America. Through this foundational impact on the development of our country, TPP thinks Pocahontas has earned the title of Founding Mother of America, of equal importance to the nation’s existence as the many Founding Fathers.

While certainly unintentional on her part, TPP also believes Pocahontas’ impact on the Virginia Company set sail centuries of British colonization around the globe, with devastating and long-lasting implications for Native, Indigenous, and First Nations peoples. TPP recognizes the fight for survival Pocahontas and her people faced starting in 1607, and how Pocahontas became a victim herself when she was abducted by the English in 1613, leaving behind her husband Kocoum and quite possibly her daughter Ka-Okee. TPP is keenly aware of the dark side of the story of Pocahontas and does not discount native oral history that Pocahontas’s son Thomas was the result of rape and she was murdered to prevent her from returning to her people.

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Despite all this chaos during her life TPP believes Pocahontas was compassionate to the English in their time of need, and looked to create positive connections between the Powhatan Indians and the English. For these reasons TPP presents Pocahontas as a patron of peace and cross-cultural understanding, at a time when the world desperately needs lots more of both. For the past 400 years American and English culture has shown great pride in Pocahontas and for all these reasons and much more, TPP also has great pride in Pocahontas and believes the complexity of her story can inspire people of all ages across America and around the world.

 

The Pocahontas Project is focused on using the positive power of that collective pride in the life, legend and legacy of Pocahontas to once again change the future course of world history. In an effort to spread the wealth of knowledge I have gained, this website offers a curated set of information resources about the woman most famously known as Pocahontas.

 

Please enjoy and share with others.

 

Rick Tatnall

Founder – The Pocahontas Project

Pocahontas: Her Life, Legend, and Legacy 

Pocahontas: Her Life, Legend, and Legacy was a half-day symposium held at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC) on November 14, 2018 with the intention of telling the story of Pocahontas from the English and Native American perspectives. Tribal leaders as well as distinguished national and international speakers led discussions on what Pocahontas has come to represent as a cross-cultural ambassador, the role of religion and faith in her story, and the myths and realities that surround her.

Here is how the speakers were described by the VMHC in the Symposium program.

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Pocahontas Saving John Smith - Chapman 1836

VMHC Pocahontas Symposium Session 1:

Pocahontas – Ambassador of Cross Culture Understanding

(2018 / 62 minutes)

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Baptism of Pocahontas- Capman 1836

VMHC Pocahontas Symposium Session 2:

Pocahontas – Religion and Faith

(2018 / 40 minutes)

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Marriage of Pocahontas- Brueckner 1855

VMHC Pocahontas Symposium

Session 3:

Pocahontas – Legacy, Myths, Realities and Relevance

(2018 / 83 minutes)

Statue of Pocahontas in Gloucester, 

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