Bio of the Month Pocahontas
PRE VIEWING ACTIVITY
- Virginia Company
- If you were Powhatan how would you have handled the arrival of the English?
- What is the Native American meaning of the name Pocahontas? Was this her real name?
- It was thought that Pocahontas was part of an elaborate plan to gain the trust of the John Smith and ultimately the English. Why would this arrangement have been beneficial to the Powhatan?
- How would you describe the interactions between the Native Americans and the English? How did their relationships change over time?
- What kinds of sources do historians use to learn about Jamestown and relations between Native Americans and the English?
- What was significant about the marriage of John Rolfe and Pocahontas? What did it mean for Jamestown?
- What are some of the myths you have heard about Pocahontas? How does her image in popular culture compare with what you learned about her in this documentary?
- When did Pocahontas travel to England and why? How do you think this experience shaped her life?
- Charting Time. Jamestown was only one of several colonies in North America. In small groups, ask students to create an illustrated timeline of colonies in North America. Students may also want to create maps of early North America or colonial Virginia and pinpoint the location of Jamestown on these maps.
- The Powers of Powhatan. In order to further understand the complexity of cultural encounters at the time of Jamestown‚Äôs founding, ask students to break up into small groups and research various aspects of Native American life. Topics might include: division of labor, the structure of the Powhatan Confederacy, food and daily life, and Powhatan‚Äôs leadership. Students can present their findings in poster-board or PowerPoint presentations. One student from each group can be selected report to the larger class.
- Portraits of Pocahontas. Among the most important images of Pocahontas is an engraving of her by Dutch artist Simon Van de Passe created during her visit to England. Online or at the library, locate this image. Ask students to write a list of adjectives to describe Pocahontas before looking at the image. Then, ask them to create another list once they have examined a copy of Van de Passe's engraving. Reconvene and lead students in a discussion of the image and what it reveals about Pocahontas.
- A Princess Abroad. Ask students to imagine that they were an embedded reporter sent to follow Pocahontas on her trip to England. Ask them to write a newspaper article describing her reception in England and her reaction to the trip.