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Pocahontas: America’s Beloved Origin Myth and How Walt Disney and John Smith Contributed

John Smith and Walt Disney have two things in common: both use Smith’s encounter of Pocahontas to fashion a story that symbolizes a pleasant relationship that disguises the tension between the English and the Native Americans, and both glaze over key facets of truth to create an image of Pocahontas that mediates the two parties.  Disney’s motion picture film “Pocahontas,” which came out in 1995, is a child-friendly version of the actual occurrence that portrays Pocahontas as a young woman who fell in love with John Smith and, because of this, single-handedly created peace between her people and the English (Faery 106).  John Smith’s account, from which the Disney film is based upon, paints Pocahontas as an exceptional caregiver among her people and alludes to the fact that she was in love with him.  Their intents for depicting Pocahontas in these ways cannot be certain, but the positive connotation that results from their altered depiction of her is.

Tour through our pages to find out how John Smith and Walt Disney contributed to the American view of the historical Pocahontas.

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