Read online or Download Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma: The American Portraits Series (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper) by Camilla. Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Nov 1, , Judith Ridner and others published Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma. Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma PDF; Split View and the career of the Powhatan “princess” Pocahontas, Camilla Townsend's brief.
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Camilla Townsends stunning new book differs from all previous biographies of Pocahontas in capturing how similar seventeenth century Native Americans. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Famous in American legend as the Indian woman who saved and then married Captain John Smith of Jamestown. Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma: The American Portraits Series Paperback – August 11, Camilla Townsend's stunning new book, Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma, differs from.
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Of course, she did not return, but the reports brought back by members of her delegation played a large role in convincing her father to retire and her uncle Opechancanough to pursue a much more militant policy in regard to the Virginians.
The catastrophic results of that policy lead Townsend to a rather pessimistic and contradictory conclusion. However, in the same section, she celebrates the persistence of Algonquian peoples in Virginia today. The reader is left wondering which of these outcomes to believe. Should we come away from this book encouraged by the centuries-long persistence of Virginia Algonquians or saddened by their inevitable destruction?
While Townsend gives proper credence to the choices of Pocahontas in determining the course of her life, she does so to the complete disempowerment of virtually every other actor in the narrative.
The historiography of colonial Virginia cries out for a comprehensive treatment of all players in thiscomplex drama, one in whichindividual choices of all parties receive equal weight. Sadly, this is not that book. Yet, she feels compelled to place Pocahontas at the scene despite equally overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Later,she condescendingly chastises well-intentionedanthropologists for attempting to explain Indian activities via the tenets of Indian culture. While seventeenth-century Algonquians obviously made calculated political decisions based on accruing the maximum amount of benefits possible, the notion that these calculations completely negated the very powerful spiritual and cultural imperatives underpinning their very identities as Algonquian people represents at best an enormous misunderstanding or at worst a kind of academic colonialism.
Lest readers interpret these criticisms as an outright condemnation of the book, let me conclude by stating that Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma is one of the best books on the subject of the Indian girl who entered into the English and, by extension, the American imagination over four hundred years ago.
Despite its lack of value as a work of ethnohistory, it will provide me ample ammunition against the Disney and Malick adherents in the class. As Nancy Shoemaker has pointed out, the English did not begin to associate Indians with the color red until the middle part of the eighteenth century, and the term appears to have been of Indian rather than European or biblical origin. Overall Townsend has written an engaging and highly credible biography.
Because of the background she supplies on seventeenthcentury Powhatan and English cultures, this book might work well as a supplementary text for an introductory class. It would be hard to find a more qualified scholar to tackle the myth and reality of the life of Pocahontas.
Rountree examines Pocahantas as part of a triumvirate that includes her father, Powhatan, and her uncle, Opechancanough the leader of the war that Rountree aptly terms the Great Assault. By casting her net more widely, Rountree offers a more substantial and farreaching study than would have been possible had she focused on Pocahontas alone.
Rountree aims to tell the story of these three pivotally important individuals from an Indian rather than an English point of view though she herself is not Indian. She refers to people, locations, and seasons by their native names whenever possible John Smith is Chawnzmit, Virginia is Tsenacomoco. Acknowledging her reliance on sources produced by Englishmen as well as on modern ethnographical texts including several of her own , she then introduces and critically examines the reliability of those sources before beginning her narrative.
Certainly, Rountree has done much to make the Powhatan world comprehensible by interlacing ethnographic insight with biographical detail. Several introductory chapters introduce the Powhatan peoples, their lifestyle, their government and leadership systems, the chiefly family itself, and the politics of the expansion of the Powhatan Confederacy.
Subsequent chapters demonstrate the effect the arrival of Europeans had on Powhatan society and on the main figures she studies. The English defaulted on promises of firearms and other items, failed to respect Powhatan territorial claims, and forced trade at the point of a gun.
Fresh insights abound as Rountree explains even seemingly perverse Indian behavior. When the English arrived to negotiate and trade with Powhatan, the townspeople led them across a narrow and rickety wooden bridge, deliberately placing the strangers off balance and demonstrating their own control of the situation.
Rountree also documents the dislocation produced by the invasion, as Powhatan was forced to abandon his capital at Werowocomoco and move farther away from the English seat at Jamestown. The English began to strike at the very foundations of his confederacy, negotiating with subordinate chiefdoms without his consent or approval and unhinging his alliances. Powhatan, however, demonstrated a lack of will to expel the invaders much to the distress and chagrin of his brother Opechancanough.
Seemingly, Powhatan did not think the English were enough of a threat to warrant a coordinated attack by the various towns of the confederacy, and did not consider it worth calling in his chips, so to speak, by demanding support from outlying communities.
Powhatan was also in the twilight years of his life, and apparently wanted to avoid the kind of disruption an all-out war would have caused. Pocahontas appears in short glimpses throughout the book. As the daughter of a chief, rather than as a member of the chiefly clan in a matrilineal society, Pocahontas would not have inherited any kind of political power in her society. Rountree also argues that Pocahontas probably saw a greater potential for maintaining status in English patrilineal society as the daughter of an influential prince than she would have enjoyed in her own matrilineal one.
The greater contact between young Powhatan people and the English brought about by English expansion undermined his efforts, however, and individuals warned the English of not one but two proposed attacks leading up to the Great Assault of Allen is a literary scholar of Laguna Pueblo descent and her biography of Pocahontas is a work of literature rather than a traditional biography.
She consciously rejects the methods and conventions of western scholarship and biography, conforming instead as much as possible to American Indian narrative tradition. Some historians will be uncomfortable with the lack of citations and written evidence to support many of the arresting assertions that Allen makes, and will often question the method by which she has reached her conclusions.
Because of its approach, the book offers an intriguingly novel at least to most non- Indian scholars interpretation of the life of this famous woman. She draws on oral traditions from a variety of Algonquian-speaking peoples up and down the eastern seaboard and throughout the Great Lakes region.
She incorporates spiritual stories from other ethnic and linguistic groups throughout indigenous North America as well, including her own Laguna Pueblo people, to bolster the argument.
The book may be more of an illuminating exercise in modern pan-Indian spirituality than a distinctly Powhatan product. Pocahontas has foreseen the arrival of the Europeans in a dream vision. She is also an important political leader who sacrifices herself to captivity and a political marriage to gain useful intelligence on the English. And in the end, she is a martyr, poisoned by her husband to prevent her from taking her knowledge of English society back to her own nation.
Many of the arguments in the book will raise eyebrows among scholars of the period. In addition there are a significant number of factual errors in this book.
In one instance Allen has John Winthrop giving his famous Arabella sermon aboard the Mayflower, ten years too early and going to the wrong colony.
His prose is smooth and his language vivid. Virginia Company appointees follow naive and destructive policies, despite the sage advice being offered by Smith, with tragic results. Much of their behavior throughout the book is incomprehensible, and the very specific rules by which their society operated are largely ignored.