by Richard A. Cheatham, Press Media Group, LLC
I’ve got to come to my grandmother’s defense. Well…my great grandmother fourteen generations ago, Pocahontas. Yesterday I was in a meeting where it was mentioned that some of America’s native people considered Pocahontas a traitor to her own people. I’ve heard this before and I don’t buy it.
A case is made against Pocahontas that her saving Captain John Smith on more than one occasion and helping to feed the starving settlers at Jamestown amounted to treason, that her efforts resulted in many horrible things for her people for centuries. Bunk! Let’s investigate the matter.
Treason has something to do with intent. Also, no human being can have any concept as to the total consequences of their actions. It’s not possible! There’s also the issue of who “her own people” were.
Intent. I seriously doubt that Pocahontas, in her acts of kindness to Smith and other English settlers, placed the harm of her native friends and family above her compassion for those she helped.
Consequences. Pocahontas couldn’t possibly have known the total chain of consequences her actions set in motion any more than you know all the consequences of your actions. Note what horrible consequences have resulted from your voting for particular political candidates, for example. Are you a great candidate for the title, traitor?
“Her own People.” Here’s a sticky one. Where are your loyalties? Among those with the same color skin? Among those who happen to share your genes, whether you know them or not? Among those who share your religious beliefs? I consider “my people” to be those who value liberty and tolerance and who offer the same to others. Gosh, you might just be a traitor to the original American Dream or to others who think you owe them something.
Finally, everyone raise your hand who believes that, without Pocahontas’ kindnesses to the English, American native peoples would’ve retained their sovereignties over North America right up until today, given facts like relative technology, relative population numbers, classic human nature, the fact that American native people were not one people but many, etc. Come on, get real!
The specific people that Pocahontas befriended happened to be the only Europeans who had taken, almost four hundred years before, certain powers from their King at an English place called Runnymede. By the time this particular European group got to America, they’d become use to assisting their Kings in the making of laws and taxes, to expecting and demanding certain “rights” and they were living under a system called the English Common Law where certain “just” practices were routine.
Thank you, Pocahontas. Perhaps it’s because of you that another European King did not dominate North America. Perhaps it’s because of you that we all…even those remaining American natives…live in the relative freedom we enjoy today. Now, consider the likely alternatives.
©2006 by Richard A. Cheatham. All rights reserved. Mr.Cheatham is a professional speaker/writer and is syndicated through Press Media Group, LLC. Contact him through, Living History Assoc., Ltd., at www.LHALtd.com or DrawBackVeil@aol.com.