The Double Life of Pocahontas
By Jean Fritz
General Publishing Co. 1983
“Kekaten Pokahontas patiaquagh niugh tanks manotyens mawokick rawrenovk audawgh.” John Smith use to write this down when he wanted to send Pocahontas a message. This is Pocahontas’s native language which meant “Bid Pocahontas bring hitcher two little Baskets and I will give her white Beads to make her a Chaine.” He learned this long sentence so he could use it more than once, which he did. Every time Pocahontas went to Jamestown, she would return with gifts from John Smith.
In The Double Life of Pocahontas, Jean Fritz begins by talking about Pocahontas being the daughter of chief Powhatan. Pocahontas was his favorite daughter, as he had many daughters from his many wives. The English reached Chesapeake Bay in 1607. John Smith and Captain John Ratcliffe where among the English aboard the ships. The English called the Native Americans “savages” and when they settled on a peninsula, they soon realized the Native Americans were all around them. At the end of the first summer, the colony was down fifty people that had fallen sick and died. While all of that was happening with the colonist, Powhatan’s village was celebrating their harvest. John Smith then got in a fight with some Native American’s and was taken to Powhatan to see what would happen of him. John was going to be clubbed but a young girl came to his rescue and saved him by throwing herself on him.
Captain Newport returned to the colonies with more people and orders that they must return with gold. By the time the Captain return, only thirty-eight settlers were still alive. Pocahontas was traveling back and forth between her familiar world and the settlers world. She spent a lot of time with John Smith when she was at the colony, but also learned how to do cartwheels with the younger boys. Captain Newport insisted on meeting Powhatan and John Smith finally took him months after the Captain had returned in the colony. John brought Powhatan gifts when they went as well. John Smith was later surround by Indians and took seven of them captive. They later let them go as long as they attend church.
The next summer, John was exploring up the Potomac River and returned to Jamestown in September. John Smith was elected the new president September tenth. John was beginning to get on Powhatan’s bad side, and Powhatan began being cold to John. The Native Americans were trying every way they could to kill him. The King appointed a new governor for Jamestown and gave them new laws to govern them. John’s pouch with his gun powder had started on fire and burnt him. He returned to Jamestown after a trip and found Ratcliffe and Archer had made their own government and John was not in power anywhere. John Ratcliffe hired to shoot John Smith in his sleep. After this John Smith decided to return to London for awhile.
What would it have been like to be one of the Native Americans with these new people invading their land? The English came to America and changed the the Native Americans life as they knew it. They invaded their landed and acted like they were friends with the Native Americans to get what they wanted. The Native Americans were living just fine by themselves in America; then these colonists come and bring strange weapons and cause many deaths to the Native people. I would have been very furious to be Powhatan during all of this after living in a land your whole life and governing your people, then all of a sudden some strange people come and think the land is theirs.
This book gives a good piece of history for John Smith’s journals. It shows what happened from his view, but also gave what happened to the other people affected by the settlers. It shows Pocahontas’s life during this time, even though she had no written accounts of her own for people to write off of.