Pocahontas And The Powhatan Dilemma Analysis

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In the 2005 book Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma, Camilla Townsend describes the colonization of North America by the English of the 1600s and the complex relationships they led with the Native Americans. Although it seems that Pocahontas is to be the lead figure, Townsend shares details that set the groundwork of relations before Pocahontas was even thought of as an important figure in the peace effort between the Native Americans and the English in North America. Although it is impossible to know history’s exact events, Townsend pulled information from the direct journals, handwritten diaries, and scholarly articles written either by eyewitnesses or those that knew eyewitnesses of the time. In her writing, it is clear that the central …show more content…
While she stays busy as a professor in history at Rutgers in New Jersey, Townsend has found the time to write Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma as well as four other distinguished works, most dealing in the focus on Native American people, their societies and structure. Townsend was first awarded for her work in 1993 with the Fullbright Commission grant and her other accomplishments include that of the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 2004 and the Guggenheim Fellowship in …show more content…
Like many men of the time, John Smith only read of the New World as was written by salacious writers, often describing the Americas as virgins yet to be plundered by other Europeans of the world. With this exaggerated viewpoint, many colonists were tricked into settling a land they by most would assume they had no right to with hostile neighbors. Despite a rough start with sickness, poor crops, and no knowledge to survive in this foreign land, colonists eventually began learning and eventually taking in Native Americans. They were taught trade, their language, farming, and even proper shelter building as the English built homes that were too hot in the summer and cool in the winter. Despite the patience and willingness of the Natives, the English took every opportunity to take advantage of the situation at hand. Without a deep knowledge of the Native Americans and their society, the English drew upon their prior knowledge of the caste system to make false assumptions on how and why the Natives lived as they did. In perhaps their greatest error, the English saw Pocahontas as a princess specifically because she was Powhatan daughter, when in reality Pocahontas held no power. Unlike the usual English hierarchy, power among Natives was carried though mothers, not fathers. Powhatan and Pocahontas, however , took full advantage of the

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