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Why is this page here? Opinions of some Indian adults & kids about the movie. Plot summary--rather gushy and "press release style" from MOVIEWEB: Pocahontas, some screen-still graphics, too (not the ones I'm using). Here is a less gushy and shorter plot summary Pocahontas (1995)--from the InterNet movie database on the web, where you can also look up facts about the stars and statistics about the film.

Powhatan Renape Nation - Rankokus American Indian Reservation -- This is the remnant of the tribe Pocahontas came from. What do they think of the Disney version?

Pocahontas gets a thumbs down -- What Canadian Native people think of it from an article publishd by INAC, the Canadian government Indian and Native Affairs agency (like the U.S. BIA).

Clicking on the blue quotes below will start an immediate download of the Qwiktime soundbyte interviews, prepared for Disney in the Press Kit for the movie. Downloads take quite a while across the InterNet. You'll need either the Mac or the Windows software gadget (and for PC's a supported soundcard) to play them back. Below: Powhatan and his daughter, Pocahontas.

Downloadable QwikTime soundbytes from Lakota Russell Means, voice of Powhatan.

Powhatan was the name of a tribal confederacy. Russ's role model -- Pocahontas's Dad -- was actually named Wahunsonacock. Hey, kids might have snickered....Historically accurate, Russ says. Hmmm. Accuracy was never his strong point.

Below: Pocahontas shows John Smith the Grandmother Willow-spirit-tree. Why does this remind me of Sierra's King's Quest V Cartoon adventure computer game, the singing and weeping woman-willow tree? Maybe because I never heard of any Grandmother Willow Tree Spirit, maybe because nobody now has the foggiest what Powhatan religious beliefs might have been back then, and no info was recorded before they were wiped out. Nice graphics, though, better than those night-time spooky trees in Sierra's King's Quest IV where the color scheme is similar but the trees are mean to Rosella. Visually, graphically, the movie owes more to Sierra On-Line computer games than anything Indian. (Sierra is influenced by Disney who advised them on a game made to go with a mid-80's release Disney featue cartoon, Black Cauldron, derived from Welsh mythology, Chronicles of Prydain.) I'd love to see a feature cartoon made someday by Indian artists. Takes lots of money, a big studio, to do that (cel animation is laborious, computers help but not that much).

Clicking the blue quotes will start download soundbytes of Irene Bedard, (Alaska Native), voice of Pocahontas.

  • "Kids will come away learning..."--(PG: Who knows what?)--1.4 Megabytes

  • "Pocahontas was a strong woman..."--(PG: Especially for an 11-year-old)--760 kilobytes.

  • Netflix

    Buy Pocahontas at
    Buy From
    • Pocahontas Theatre--Big imagemap from which you can send Disney comments, visit "Pocahontas Space" (see below) or get the Press Kit (see below). No textmenu, the image map's it.

    Pocahontas Space turns out to be another menuless imagemap--big and slow-loading--where you can click on the oddly-named "Smokehouse Theatre" for more huge movie frames, from which you have to guess what's supposed to be a picture of a map to return. (Hint: Looks like 3 igloos, in the lower left corner.) Click what looks like a loom and you're in a disappointing drawing/coloringbook. Click a nearly-invisible arrow in the background and go to the "Web Game". We'll let you find the Smokehouse, but here's the others:

    • Pocahontas Drawing Board--Nifty-looking menu screen for it, but with all their money and talent, these people didn't do this right. You can only print (for off-line crayon coloring) the B & W outlines to an attached printer (at the mercy of your browser). You cannot save these as files to load in KidPix (Broederbund) or Flying Colors (Davidson Associates) popular software for young artists. Maybe they're working on a license deal--but those add-in images you buy for $15 contain several hundred, not 6. Then too, pix have to be worked up with no breaks in outlines for the "paint" to leak out. I got one down anyway (it's a MAP type graphics file, not any familiar type) and jinked it around and tried it in a paint program. Totally leaky! Yes, Disney needs a consultant like me, and I need money, too! But I told 'em for free, fixit. Maybe those high-priced talents will do so. I wouldn't expect them to equal NCSA's Carlos, the forms and web server programming magician, who has an online coloring book (see GAMES page here) that you can actually color on-line, although his designs aren't very fancy. Hey, Disney, hire Carlos as a consultant for this section. And those Asylum software engineers who do the nifty Scratchpad (see GAMES), too. They really know what they'r doing. Beyond pretty artwork, you don't.

    • The Pocahontas Game Instructions--Powhatan tells you to do a websearch to re-unite Pocahontas and John at the Grandmother Willow (shown above). Unlike me--I spent about 15 hours reducing the screen pix I used so they'd load fast as possible--the high-priced Disney talent didn't do that. So the game (which could be a lot of fun) is almost intolerably slow because of its heavy use of big, slow-loading graphics. I told 'em that and how to do it if you have cheap old equipment like me anyway. Yep, they should pay me a consulting fee, at least enough to buy PhotoShop and maybe Illustrator 5 too to work on these pages. Oh, well. I'm more watching out for Disney Corp. lawyers than checks! (Disney is known as a rather horrible employer and they tend to sue everybody in sight.)

    • Disney Pocahontas Press Kit--Interviews of all the major people connected with the film, including the only 2 Indians involved: Russell Means (Pine Ridge, SD, Lakota, AIM leader, voice of Powhatan) and Irene Bedard (I'm uncertain of her tribe, she describes herself as a "Native American from Alaska" without mentioning her tribe). There are a dozen click-to-download QuikTime movies (1-4 minutes)--you need a Mac or a PC playback software gadget--with short segments of the film, as well as short downloadable sound-byte interviews with all the big shots about what went into making the film, why it's historically accurate or good anyway, and so on. Russell Means's (paid highly for doing the voice of Powhatan --aka Wahunsonacock in Indian--and PR for the film) 3 inteviews are interesting on that. Apparently the Pocahontas cartoon character's appearance stems from some girl the Disney team met while doing research in Virginia who claimed to be a descendant, hoo boy. Well, Hollywood has always been full of film Indian Princesses (who never saw a powwow). "Ugh, Kimo sabe. Gettum-up, Scout." Who's that masked man? He's a banker with lots of Hollywood Cowboyz 'n' Injuns cash profits.


    This is on another page here: Indian opinions on Pocahontas so I can add your opinions to it easier!

    For starters, teachers, you might want to consider some class discussion of the exploitation angle, which the non-Indian people entirely ignore. In other words, Disney will make hundreds of millions from this flick--our history. I've asked them to comment if they're donating part of the profits to Indian causes, education, etc., and will post any reply I receive. Bear in mind though that all studios use "creative accounting" for figuring film profits (this is how film writers constantly get left out, for example), so any percentage mentioned won't be "of the gross", bet your life on it. Net profits is what vanishes under creative accounting. Anyway, they probably would have highly publicized such a donation if they were making one. Actually, I expect they will hand over a few little checks--as a publicity stunt.

    The exploitation issue is a substantial one among many Indian adults today, where the idea of "cultural patrimony" as a kind of property (since everyone but Indians seems able to make huge amounts of money off it) is beginning to be much discussed in Indian country. See, it's not just distortions of our history, culture, religion that are worrisome. It's how come everyone except Indian people seems to be able to cash in on it bigtime?

    Already it seems clear this will be a "BIG" profit-making film. So a lot of additional Pocahontas products have already begun to appear, and we can look forward rather grimly to several years of Pocahontas dolls (with wardrobes, houses, etc.), John Smith dolls, Powhatan dolls, Pocahontas teen fad garments and jewelry, other Indian wearable knockoffs, and thousands of books for young people, the overwhelming majority by non-Indian writers. There is sure to be computer software--a CDROM by Disney themselves is said to be in the works. There will surely be knockoffs like "coloring pix" done right (unlike the ones on the Disney pages), tourist trips to Pocahontas country in Virginia; Pocahontas Villages in the world-wide Disneylands, and on and on. Actual Indian people will enjoy no benefits whatever from these products, from which additional hundreds of millions will be made. Some of these products will be pretty bad in just about any way you can imagine, too. Ghastly plastic junk. Horrible songs that sound like mockeries of real Indian ones. Airhead slang. Sequels: "Grandaughter of Pocahontas Meets Bride of Frankenstein (at a baby shower)." The mind reels, the spirit (mine anyway) shudders.

    • USENET Reviews: Pocahontas (1995)--Scroll down past the stars, use the button at bottom of this page. None of these reviews are by Indian people, some are quite elaborate. Some are typed-for-InterNet copies of reviews from printed-press.

      Learning to search the Internet is an important skill. I previously had pulled some examples of newsgroup discussions around the time the film was released. These ae no longer valid, because DejaNews, the service that searches old or current newsgroup postings has changed its server and its methods! You can no longer save the results of a search as a command that pulls the same items again.

      So, try this. Click on DejaNews Research Service, and on their startup page, click SEARCH. You'll see a form. Click one of the radio buttons to return you the maximum its (120), and leave it set for "latest" postings. Now enter pocahontas as a searchterm in the form. I don't know what you'll get, because I did it on February 20, at as different time "the latest" will be different. What I got just now was mostly people discussing Disney/Poca collectibles, dolls, trading cards, other junk.

      After you enter your searchterm and wait till it searches a database of newsgroup current postings, you'll be looking at a long list. On the left will be the first few words of the SUBJECT header the person gave his or her message. On the right will be the poster's email. Click on any of these and you will see what they posted. You can email to them by clicking on their name when the message is displayed. But wait! you'll surely notice that message is part of a discussion that has been going on for some time. Before jumping in with your two cents, better trace it backward (and forward) a ways! You'll also see some messages that seem almost entirely irrelevant. It's not always clear why the search engine thought it was, but most likely it is the tail end of a discussion that started very relevant thn people went off on tangents.

      OK, try one more with DejaNews. This time in the search form enter pocahontas & racism. That will pull everything that somehow touches on both those terms. I got 48 hits on Feb. 20, I don't know what you'll get.

      Don't look for this document quoted below--you won't find it on the InterNet (except here). After the old man Wahunsonacock (aka Powhatan--that was actually the name of the governing Federation of tribes, not the man) died, his brother Opechancanough tried to oust the growing and dangerous white settlers, killing 347 colonists. Here's what Edward Waterhouse reported in 1622:

      "Before, our hands which were tied with gentleness and faire usage are now set at liberty by the treacherous violence of the Savages...So that we...may now by the right of Warre invade the Country and destroy them, whereby we shall enjoy their cultivated places, turning the laborious Mattock [hoe-machete by which the colonists had to clear the uncleared land they settled--hard work] into the victorious Sword (whereby there is more ease, benefitte, and Glory) and possessing the fruits of others labors. Now their cleared grounds in all their villages (which are situate in the fruitfullest places of the land) shall be inhabited by us. Because the way of conquering them is much more easie than of civilizing them by faire means, for they are a rude, barbarous and naked people. Besides, a conquest may be of manie, and at once, but civility is in particular, and slow, the effect of long and great industrie." He goes on to describe all the many ways in which the people may be destroyed, and also mentions enslaving them.

      So the colorful-cartoon Governor Ratcliffe isn't the only bad guy around, and in fact I see no historical reason to regard John Smith as having been a good guy, either. Teen-age girls are easily impressed by interesting strangers. (She was 11 or 12 when she begged for his life.)

      Here's a P.S. to that report from the "Laws and Orders Concluded by the General Assembly of Virginia, March 5, 1623-24". This is an order (a law) for the colonists: "That at the beginning of July next the inhabitants of every corporation shall fall upon their adjoyning salvages as we did the last year. Those that shall be hurte upon this service to be cured at publique charge; in case any be lamed to be maintained by the country according to the person and quality." Well, no of course they didn't mean they'd cure or take care of any "salvages" who got hurt or lamed. Our people were meant to be all killed.

      Excerpted from Chronicles of American Indian Protest, many documents compiled in 1971 by the Council on Interracial Books for Children, A 376-page small-print book published ($1.25 paperback, long ago bookprice days) by Fawcett Publications, long out of print. Dunno if that Council still exists. It seems likely all those Disney fans never read it.

      Learning to use the powerful InterNet search engines to find info you're interested in is an essential computer skill--your class can learn it by researching Pocahontas.

      • Yahoo Search:Pocahontas--Do your own search, see what they got by now. I didn't find much here (Fb. 20: now thee's 14, this page -- with a misplling I just noticed in the description -- is one of the web pages there). You can do such bookmark saves of particular successful searches too in som of the web databases. (It used to be possible to save a query-results with DejaNews; now it isn't).

      • DejaNews Research Service--Much of this discussion goes on on Newsgroups--here's where you can search them and update what's being said. by entering the word "pocahontas" in the query form. Tip: Pick (radio buttons) the max number of hits found! Scroll downscreen. Pick the AND radio button and try entering pocahontas education or some other combined words as a searchphrase. Be sure to click AND not OR!

      --Using Search Engines on the Web--You'll find other InterNet search engines and ways to search here. Some of these link to search engines with included tutorials or extensive instructions for how to refine searches. Of course you don't have to stick to Poca, but it's good to have some kind of motivation or goal in mind, because if you don't, therre's no reason to play around with these search engines.

      I would be interested to learn what you can find out about Pocahontas -- th movie, the person, the historical period -- on Internet. Some of you might try having students compile liszts (easist to do by setting a bokmark every time you find something. Then load your bookmark file into a word-processor, and copy out of it into another document the bookmarks you placed when you found something relevant. Be careful not to mess up the bookmark file, which is plain ASCII text, but coded. When you're through working with it, don't save it, that way if you did erase or change something your changes won't take effect. It is even safer to work with a bookmark duplicate file, copied as another filename. After you've made a bookmark, take a few notes within the bookmark itself. Because the bookmark records only what the webperson titled her page.


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    Page prepared by Paula Giese. Graphics are reduced-color, reduced-size (by sampling), cropped versions of stills from the Disney press kit for Pocahontas. Presumably their presence in a press kit means even Indian publications like this can use them. There has been no response to my request for explicit permission to use them here. Once I asked permish to use some screens from Disney educational software in a review I was writing for a magazine. Long after my deadline (after about 6 months),. I got a letter from their lawyers that was hard to translate from legalistic gibberish into English. It seemed to say Go ahead, but if we don't like your review, we'll sue you. So I didn't review any Disney software, ever, and I never ever recomended any schools or parents buy any. Text and layout copyright 1995, Paula Giese

    Last updated: Sunday, June 09, 1996 - 12:51:54 PM