The Identity Of An American Icon Essay

1911 Words Dec 9th, 2014 8 Pages
The Two Identities of an American Icon
Early America was founded on the ideas of the early English colonies combined with the beliefs of the indigenous people. Conflicts between native tribes and Europeans characterized the colonial period and significantly impacted both the natives and the Europeans. Political strife, as well as economic and territorial tensions, was commonplace among the indigenous and the colonists. Pocahontas, the princess of the local Powhatan tribe, played a pivotal role in this early contact between European and Indigenous American cultures. She often fostered peace between the English colonists and the Powhatans by befriending the colonists and eventually marrying one of them. As a result of her position as an emissary and sort of “mediator” between the two groups and her marriage, Pocahontas began to assimilate herself to European beliefs and ideologies by converting to Christianity. The changes that occurred as a result of Pocahontas’ marriage to John Rolfe and her conversion to Christianity led to profound cultural tensions and an ambiguous juxtaposition between her identities as a Powhatan Princess versus the Christian wife of John Rolfe.
Established on May 14, 1607, the colony of Jamestown, located near present-day Williamsburg, Virginia, was the first permanent English settlement in North America. In contrast, the Powhatan Empire led by Pocahontas’ father, Chief Powhatan, consisted of approximately 28 tribes of the Tidewater region and…

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