Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • I'm standing here in the "Contact and Conflict" galleries in "The Story of Virginia,"

  • amid a collection of paintings of Pocahontas.

  • You may notice that no two of these images are identical,

  • and it's obvious that the public's perception of this Powhatan woman have changed considerably

  • in the 400-some years since her life.

  • The truth is we know very little about Pocahontas. She never kept a diary,

  • never wrote any letters, and never gave anyone her life story,

  • so we must rely instead on secondhand accounts of her life from people who lived around her.

  • Even Pocahontas's name is a source of confusion.

  • In her community, she would have been known as Matoaka,

  • when she was baptized she changed her name to Rebecca,

  • and her nickname, Pocahontas, meant "little wanton" or "little plaything,"

  • and was likely given to her because of her playful nature.

  • Pocahontas was likely born around 1596, and according to William Strachey's descriptions

  • of Pocahontas upon her first contact with the Europeans, she was prepubescent,

  • wore no clothing, and sported a rather ragged hairdo, thanks the haircut she would've been given

  • using shells to grate off her locks.

  • Pocahontas would've been no stranger to hard labor, and her appearance

  • would've reflected her daily work.

  • Women in her community were responsible for gathering water, collecting firewood,

  • digging for roots, as well as maintaining most of the crops that would've been consumed by the town.

  • As Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas would have enjoyed a certain amount of status among her village,

  • but she wouldn't have liked the term "princess" that the Englishmen would later refer to her as.

  • Because Powhatan's power passed through matrilineal lines, Pocahontas and her siblings

  • wouldn't have expected to take control after their father's death.

I'm standing here in the "Contact and Conflict" galleries in "The Story of Virginia,"

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US pocahontas contact baptized secondhand ragged life story

Who was Pocahontas?

  • 147 7
    cinderella posted on 2014/10/22
Video vocabulary