I’ve noticed that every time my name comes up, President Trump likes to talk about Pocahontas. So I figured, let’s talk about Pocahontas. Not Pocahontas, the fictional character most Americans know from the movies, but Pocahontas, the Native woman who really lived, and whose real story has been passed down to so many of you through the generations. Pocahontas — whose original name wasn’t even Pocahontas.In the fairy tale, Pocahontas and John Smith meet and fall in love. Except Smith was nearly 30, and Pocahontas was about 10 years old. Whatever happened between them, it was no love story. In the fairy tale, Pocahontas saves John Smith from execution at the hands of her father. Except that was probably made up too. ...
Indigenous people have been telling the story of Pocahontas — the real Pocahontas — for four centuries. A story of heroism. And bravery. And pain. And, for almost as long, her story has been taken away by powerful people who twisted it to serve their own purposes.
Our country’s disrespect of Native people didn’t start with President Trump. It started long before President Washington ever took office. But now we have a president who can’t make it through a ceremony honoring Native American war heroes without reducing Native history, Native culture, Native people to the butt of a joke. The joke, I guess, is supposed to be on me.
They’re gone, but the love they shared, the struggles they endured, the family they built, and the story they lived will always be a part of me. And no one — not even the president of the United States — will ever take that part of me away.