Disney's Skewed Opinion on Native Americans

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According to dictionary.com, history is a record or narrative description of past events. Unfortunately this record can be altered depending on who is narrating. Similar to the game of telephone where the message is passed on verbally, the end result is usually much different than the original. This faux pas within written and spoken history is apparent in the story of Pocahontas. Of all the films made depicting this heroic daughter of an Indian chief, I chose the 1995 Disney version, self entitled Pocahontas. Disney released this movie world wide in 1995 and then re-released in the United States on May 3, 2005. The movie takes place in 1607 in England with the boarding of the Virginia Company with the “new world”, North America, in their sites. Aside from the brief scene in England and their sail over, the rest of the movie takes place in Virginia, home to Pocahontas. I was 11 years old when this movie came out and I still remember singing along to the catchy songs, laughing at the rambunctious raccoon, and wishing I could talk to trees. As an educated 24 year old and presently in a class about Native American culture, this viewing was drastically different than that of my first. As a kid my only reference point to the story of Pocahontas was this Disney movie, and after I learned the truth behind the numerous myths, I was angry but more frustrated. My frustration stemmed from the misrepresentation, mistreatment, and misguidance that Disney steered me in. Through the research of the Powhatan people, factual information, and analysis of Matoaka, Pocahantas’ birth name, an anthropological and Native American mind set will be used to retrieve and rectify the lost and or skewed historical records regarding both Matoaka and her people. From an anthropological viewpoint, research to right the wrongs of a people that have been misrepresented for years through books
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