Pocahontas Journey to Spiritual Peace

by Russ McGlenn

Born: 1595

Name given by mother: Matoaka-"Little Playful One."

Name given by father: Pocahontas-"Favorite Daughter."

Secret name: "White Feather"

Place: Werowocomoco a town near Chesapeake Bay, Virginia.
          Jamestown was build near here.

Father: Chief Powhatan who had 87 children

Brothers: Parahunt and Tatacoope

Nation: Algonquin a subgroup of the Lenni Lenape

Education: Taught by father, mother, and brothers in the ways of the forest and was a quick learner.
           Later taught by Pastors Hunt and Whitaker at Jamestown.

Religion: The Algonquin worshipped the War God Okewas and made human sacrifice to him.
           They knew about the Creator God whom they called Ahone.

Name for English: Bearded Ones or Tassen-tassees which means skunk because they never bathed and smelled so bad.

History John Smith: At the age of twelve Pocahontas sees him in the woods near her village. He is captured and taken to Powhatan. She exercises her right as princess to adopt him and save his life. He becomes her "Elder Brother." Pocahontas helps the Jamestown colony: She brings food to the starving people. Warns them of a trap her father and War priest have set to kill some of the colonists. Asks for the return of warriors captured by the Bearded Ones and helps to bring peace. She tries to rescue three boys from hostile Indians. One dies the other two are saved.

Kidnapped: At age 13 she is kidnapped and held hostage in Jamestown . The governor hopes that Powhatan will seek peace if they have his daughter. Powhatan does not want Pocahontas harmed and makes peace.

Pastor Whitaker: Through this man, Pocahontas learned the Apostle's Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lords Prayer. She may have learned to write at this time. In 1614 she renounced the devil and confessed faith in Jesus. She was then baptized and became a member of the Church of England. She took a new name, Rebecca, possibly based on her admiration for that Biblical heroine.

1614. The Englishman John Rolfe, and Pocahontas probably met each other at church. The King of England had forbidden marriage between Native Americans and English. Rolfe persuaded the governor that Pocahontas was a Christian and that this marriage would bring peace between the colony and Powhatan. They were married on April 5, 1614 and peace was made between the two nations for several years. This is called the Peace of Pocahontas. Though her Father Powhatan did not attend the wedding, he sent a string of beautiful freshwater pearls. He also sent a delegation of his finest braves and Parahunt, her brother.

1615. Thomas is born. Pocahontas takes the child to see his grandfather.

1616. Pocahontas, her son and husband travel to England. Here she visits the Queen and other dignitaries. She finally sees John Smith again.

1617. She dies of small pox there at age 21. She made her "confession of faith" on her death bed that she would be resurrected because of her faith in Jesus. Her desire was that Thomas be raised as a Christian and go back to Virginia to be a blessing to the Algonquins and English.

Descendants Thomas Rolfe was raised by an uncle in England. He was heir to the Powhatan royal line and moved to Virginia when he was 20. He visited the Powhatans once but could not stay because they and the English were enemies again. He married an English woman and was a leading citizen in Virginia. Seven generations of his descendants have included teachers, ministers, statesmen, lawmakers, and a U.S. senator. Another relative, Edith Bolling Wilson became the wife of President Woodrow Wilson. (Miller, p. 39)

The Chesapeake Bay area today is occupied by eight groups of Powhatans. Most of them, including their chiefs, have become Christians and are active in the Southern Baptist or Methodist churches. One of their chiefs who is 83 years old says that the Pocahontas-Smith story is a good example of peacemaking. Webster "Little Eagle" Custalow goes on to say this: "Real peace, as the Bible says, is only possible when there is real love. We need to love each other first, then we can have peace." (Miller, p.39)


The Real Pocahontas, by Kevin Miller, The Christian Reader, July/Aug 1995.

Pocahontas, True Princess, By Mari Hanes, Multnomah Books, 1995. Excellent Christian book written by a descendent of Pocahontas. Tells of her spiritual journey to peace in God through Christ.

The Double Life Of Pocahontas, by Jean Fritz, Putnam's Sons, 1983.

A non-Christian book to read in to contrast to Mari Hanes interpretation. The basic known facts are similar but a secular twist is given to everything.

Very antagonistic to any Christian interpretation of Pocahontas' life. This quote is from the back cover: Pocahontas was the "...consummate traitor of the Indian world..." This is a sad commentary because Hanes' book presents her as a person who was trying to bring peace between the Indian and English peoples. What higher calling for a royal princess that Pocahontas would take on the task of peacemaker. This quote shows a lack of seeing God's overall plan for all peoples, that they should come to a knowledge of Him.

Indians of the Americas, Matthew Stirling, National Geographic Society, 1961.

The Wallam Olum /The Red Record, The oldest native North American History, David McCutchen, 1993.

Copyright 1995, Russ McGlenn and Adventure Safaris

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