KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules for all contest rules.
There are two winners today, instead of one. To be fair, I do actually draw that names and sometimes two little slips of paper are drawn instead of one.
And…(drum roll)…the winners are:
Lori Smanski & Trudy C
Congratulations to you both. Since the books come directly from Amazon from me to you, I would need the address that you use at Amazon to purchase things. Please do contact me at: karenkay(dot)author(at)startmail(dot)com — insert a (.) for (dot) and @ for (at).
Again, Congratulations and many thanks to all who came to the blog yesterday and who left a message. I learned much from you all.
As an aside, the entire series of the Legendary Warriors (WAR CLOUD’S PASSION; LONE ARROW’S PRIDE; SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE; WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE) is on sale, as is the book, BLACK EAGLE. The sale will be ending soon (within the next few days).
For any of you who have been following my posts about the true story of Pocahontas — a true American heroine — this is the last in a series of three. For anyone who has not been following the story, or who want to go back and read through the earlier posts so that this make more sense, here are the links:
As a quick overview, here is what we’ve learned so far: Pocahontas was too young to have had a romance with John Smith. We also learned that John Smith was adopted into Powhatan society. In my last post I showed that she was abducted by the English and forced to live with them. According to Pocahontas — who confided this to her sister — she was raped and was pregnant. It is believed, however, that she was not married to the man who did this to her…Thomas. Instead she was married to a man who could prove to be useful to the Colony if he could obtain secrets from the Powhatan people to turn those secrets to profit. Note again, her son’s name was Thomas, not John. Here below is the final installment of this story.
“According to …sacred oral history, the Native people of the New World possessed the knowledge of how to cure and process tobacco successfully. The Spanish gained this knowledge from the Native communities they had subdued.” THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS.
But, here might be exactly what the English were looking for to end the financial worries that had plagued the English settlement. The growing of tobacco and its curing methods might, indeed, provide the means to put the problems that had plagued the colonists for so long.
Because of Pocahontas’ marriage to an Englishman, the priests’ concern over the sharing of their secrets concerning the curing of tobacco seemed to be placated. However, oral history points out that the efforts of the Powhatan priests to help the English had the opposite effect of what the priests had hoped for, meaning that the priests had wished to persuade the English into becoming friendly and a part of the tribe. But, instead of the English embracing the Powhatan people as brothers, it appeared that the new success unleashed an extraordinary rash of greed on the part of the newcomers. Tobacco became the gold of the New World. As a result, more Powhatan lands were trespassed and more killing ensued. Additionally, more of the American Indian people became enslaved by the newly “successful” Englishmen.
But, back in the Colony, it was agreed that it was time to go back to England. The infamous Captain Samuel Argall (who had abducted and kidnapped Pocahontas) captained the ship that was to take Rolfe, Pocahontas, their son and members of the Powhatan tribe to England. The reasons for the trip were many: finances were needed to refinance Jamestown, merchants needed to talk to the colonists to ensure more success, but perhaps the most important reason for going back to England was that public approval was needed in order to secure the colony.
Pocahontas provided a means to “show” the English people that the people of Jamestown and the natives were on friendly terms. Pocahontas’s sister, Mattachanna and her husband accompanied Pocahontas to England, as did several other Powhatan people. It had appeared to the Powhatan people that with so many of her own countrymen surrounding her, there would be safety in numbers. Wise men and priests, however, advised Wahunsenaca not to let his daughter go to England; they said that she would never return. But how could he stop it? She was already in the hands of the Englishmen, who could kill her or use her in a bad way. He considered a rescue too risky. She might die.
In the end, Pocahontas went to England.
It was in England that Pocahontas’s “eyes were opened” to the truth. Up to that time Pocahontas hadn’t known that she was being used as a pawn might be used in a game of chess, because she didn’t really understand the English or what drove them to do what they did. But, Pocahontas was far from being a chess piece. She was a flesh and blood heroine.
What opened her eyes was a meeting she had with John Smith. It was because of this meeting that she learned she had been lied to: he was not dead. Moreover, she discovered that he had utterly betrayed her father and her people because he had taken a solemn oath to her people to represent them to the English; he had promised her father that he would bring the English under the power of the Powhatan. She learned he had never intended to honor his word, that he had used her father and her people to simply get what he wanted.
Pocahontas was outraged and she directed her rage toward Smith at their meeting. Understand, she was not angry because of any lost love or any young girl crush on the man. Rather she had been alerted to the truth: that this mad-man had betrayed her father and her people.
It is known to this day through oral tradition that it was with horror that Pocahontas learned what John Smith’s true intentions had been toward her people — had always been toward her people: to take their lives, their lands and everything they held dear.
Pocahontas now longed to go home and inform her father of all she had learned. She intended to do exactly that. Unfortunately, she let that be known to the wrong people and the wrong man. While we don’t know what John Smith did or whom he told of his “talk” with Pocahontas, we can surmise from the evil that followed the “talk,” that he told Pocahontas’ words to those who stood to lose money on their investments, and/or those who stood to gain from the merchants’ investments: i.e., Dale, Rolfe and Whitaker or some other merchants.
Meanwhile, the whole party set sail back to England in the spring of 1617 with Samuel Argall again as the captain of the ship. That evening Pocahontas, Rolfe and Argall dined in the captain’s chamber.
“Pocahontas quickly became ill. She returned to her quarters by herself, sick to her stomach, and vomited. She told (her sister) Mattachanna that the English must have put something in her food. Mattachana and Uttamattamakin tried to care for Pocahontas in her sudden illness. As Pocahontas began to convulse, Mattachanna went to get Rolfe. When they returned, Pocahontas had died.” — THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS.
They hadn’t even attained open sea yet. They were still in the river. Rolfe immediately asked to be taken to Gravesend, where he buried Pocahontas and left Thomas in England for his English relatives to raise. Rolfe never saw him again.
Upon returning to the New World, Mattachanna and her husband, Uttamattamakin — who was the high priest — reported to Chief Wahunsenaca what had happened in England, including the murder of his daughter. It is from this account that the oral history has been passed down from generation to generation.
But who killed her and why? Again, from the book, THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS, “Rolfe and the Virginia Company associates ascertained that Pocahontas knew that Smith had lied to her father and that some English businessmen were behind a scheme to remove her father from his throne and take the land from the Powhatan people. This justified the decision by the English colonists not to take Pocahontas back to her homeland…. Certain people believed that Pocahontas would endanger the English settlement, especially because she had new insights into the political strategy of the English colonists and (their intention) to break down the Powhatan structure, so they plotted to murder her.”
Again, from the book, THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS, “…Dale, Rolfe, and Whitaker had close ties to each other. All three had major roles in what happened in Pocahontas’s life after she was abducted. Dale eventually took custody of Pocahontas after Argall took her to Jamestown. Whitaker maintained Pocahontas’s house arrest and surveillance. All three sought to convert Pocahontas to Christianity. Rolfe married Pocahontas. Dale provided a large tract of land for Rolfe to grow tobacco. A Dale-Rolfe-Whitaker trio comprising agreements and pacts is not out of the realm of possibility, but … sacred oral history does not reveal who or how many persons were behind her murder. We believe it is most likely that more than one person was involved.”
So ends my story of the abduction and murder of a true heroine. A heroine because she tried to unite two different peoples. A heroine because she endured much in an effort to help her people. She did it with little complaint, though it goes without saying that she yearned for the company of her own people, her own little son and the husband of her heart, Kocoum.
It’s not exactly the Disney version or the fairy tale story that we’ve all been spoon-fed, I’m afraid. But it’s an honest view. It shows the courage and persistence of a young woman who did all she could to help her father and her people. And, to this end, she is a true American heroine.
I believe that the purpose of history is to show what causes created what effects. In an honest report of history, once can easily see what effects were created and thus use history as a real education. As they say “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Of course, one has to presuppose that one’s history is being told truthfully, and not rewritten versions of an event that will further along some vested interest. So what can we learn from this true story of a brave heroine?
I’ll give you my thoughts on the subject, and perhaps you can give me yours. The mistakes that I see that Wahunsenaca (Pocahontas’s father) made were: 1) He didn’t get to know the Englishman’s views of ethics (or lack thereof), supposing instead that all peoples valued the same thing; 2) He sought to placate evil instead of confronting it and eradicating it when he had a chance of winning against it; and 3) One cannot easily placate greed and evil. It seems to feed on itself. To me such greed is vampire-like — one can never do enough. It’s as though one’s own good deeds disappear into a vacuum — a “ho-hum — what else can you do for me,” attitude. The arrogance and snobbery of the criminally insane is beyond belief. And, as far as Pocahontas, herself, I’d say that one could learn that one shouldn’t say too much to those who have raped, kidnapped and/or have harmed or mean to harm you in some way.
After all, the opposite of the right to speak one’s mind is the right to not speak it to those who mean you harm. She was only in her early twenties. Did I know this valuable God-given right when I was this young? I can say quite honestly that I did not.
Well, there you have it. What do you think? It’s doubtful Hollywood would make a movie of this story, though I wish that they would. But this is the story that has been passed down from generation to generation amongst the Powhatan people and their various tribes, specifically the Mattaponi. For further information, I would highly recommend the book, THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS by Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow and Angela L. Daniel “Silver Star.” Read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions. It is a story of the oral tradition of Pocahontas. It is not a made-up story. Here is a link to get the book: https://tinyurl.com/yy6zccl2
So come on in and let me know your thoughts. Is there anything you can think of that can be learned from this “history lesson”?
And now for the give-away promised: I’ll be gifting the e-book, BLACK EAGLE, to a lucky blogger. I’m giving away the e-book, BLACK EAGLE, because this story is one of an Eastern Indian tribe, the Iroquois. Although the Powhatan tribe is not the same as the Iroquois, both of them were North Eastern tribes.
Please note: The pricing of the books, WAR CLOUD’S PASSION, LONE ARROW’S PRIDE, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE, WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE and BLACK EAGLE are once again on sale. Temporarily, they had gone up in price to their usual price at $4.99. But check back at Amazon soon. They will be going back on sale from $.99 – $2.99.
Hope you have enjoyed this blog and the previous two blogs about the same subject. Peace…
Thanks so much to everyone who came to the blog yesterday or today and who left their comment or viewpoint on the somewhat controversial post. I enjoyed reading your comments and thoughts on the matter. We do have a winner, and that winner is:
Congratulations Alice. Now, in order to get the e-book to you, could you please email me privately?
My address is: karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net
Again, many, many thanks to all those who spent some time reading and then also commenting on the post.
And a happy Tuesday to you! Hope y’all are doing well and I hope you’ll find the blog today fascinating.
Don’t know if I’ve mentioned that I’ll be giving away the free e-book, WAR CLOUD’S PASSION today, thus, I’ll do it here at the start of today’s blog. Today’s blog could be a bit long, so let’s get right to it.
In my last blog last month, I tried to give an overview and an idea of how Pocahontas came to be familiar with the English colonists and how they had come to know her. If you missed that post, you can do a search under “The Abduction and Murder of Pocahontas,” and it will come up for you to read.
Okay, that said, let’s look at where I left off in my last post, which was with Pocahontas coming of age and I promised to tell you about her marriage to Kocoum, as well as her abduction by a few of the colonists, and the rather sordid details of her subsequent marriage to John Rolfe. It may take me more than this post to fill in all those holes. But let’s at least start with how she might have met her husband, Kocoum.
In the Powhatan society, a young girl and boy’s coming of age is celebrated, and it was no different for Pocahontas. However, because there was a rumor of an abduction planned for Pocahontas, her ceremony was limited to special friends and family only. There is a special dance called the courtship dance during which male warriors search the dancers for a mate. This is probably where their courtship began. After a time, they were married. Kocoum was an elite warrior. He was among 50 of the top warriors that guarded the capital of the Powhatan confederacy. He was also the younger brother of Wahunsenaca’s, a friend of Pocahontas’ father, Chief Japazaw. Because the priests (called quiakros) feared that the colonists plotted to kidnap Pocahontas, the couple went to live in Kocoum’s home, which was isolated from the colonists and farther north. She was, in fact, being hidden from the English. Kocoum and Pocahontas had a child, little Kocoum, a boy. It was Captain Samuel Argall, an English colonist, who accomplished the feat of kidnapping Pocahontas.
Please excuse me as I pause from my story momentarily to tell you of a movie I once watched where it rendered that Pocahontas and her father had a falling out and that he had banished her from the tribe, thus she had taken up with the English. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pocahontas was a princess, dearly beloved by her father. She was also married to Kocoum and had a child by him. Never would she have been banished from the tribe. That movie did nothing but further the false information about this very brave woman. That said, back to Captain Argall. Why did he wish to capture Pocahontas? Why did he take such extreme measures, for he certainly did. Once he had learned of her hiding place, he gathered together not only men, but weapons and arms to attempt her capture. But why?
Let’s speculate. Do you remember from my previous post that the English colonists were looting the Powhatan villages of their stores of food. They were also raping their women and children and oftentimes stealing their women and children in order to make them servants for the English. Sometimes I wonder at the foolishness of sending only men to the colonies. It only courted trouble. But I digress. Perhaps he simply wanted her as his woman. But I don’t think so. I think the reason is much more complex and includes money and greed. The Powhatan had many diverse and rich agricultural fields. There were no trees to cut, no land to clear. In order to take the land, all the colonists had to do was destroy the village and take the land — it seemed this was considered easier than clearing the land. This the colonists did and they expected retribution from the very powerful Powhatan tribe because of it. The tribe might have done this. But they chose not to because Wahunsenaca considered the English a branch of his tribe. Though the abuses were numerous, he still sought other ways to deal with the problem, rather than killing the colonists outright.
Through trickery and deceit, Captain Argall managed to get Pocahontas onto his ship. She was supposed to be returned. She never was. She was held for ransom. What Captain Argall demanded from Pocohontas’ father was: a) the return of English weapons that had been taken from Jamestown, b) the return of the English prisoners Washunsenaca held captive and c) a shipment of corn. Washunsenaca paid the ransom at once. In fact Argall writes of the transaction in his log in 1613, “This news much grieved this great king (Wahunsenaca), yet without delay he returned the messenger with this answer, that he desired me to use his daughter well, and bring my ship into his river (Pamunkey), and there he would give me my demands; which being performed, I should deliver him his daugher, and we should be friends.” Although Wahunsenaca quickly carried out the ransom demands, Pocahontas was never released. According to the book, THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS, by Dr. Linwood “little Bear” Custalow and Angela L. Daniel “Silver Star,” “…oral history states that before Argall took sail (back to Jamestown), several of Argall’s men returned to Pocahontas’ home and killed her husband, Kocoum.” It was tradition that he would have come for her and rescued her, something that Argall could not permit. Little Kocoum survived because upon Pocahontas’ capture, he was put into the care of several of the women of the tribe. As an aside, there are still many descendents of Kocoum who are alive and well to this day. You may again wonder why the Powhatan didn’t retaliate. Part of that is Pocahontas’s father’s fear for her life if he were to do so, the other reason he didn’t attack is because of a tribal custom — part of the cultural foundation of the tribe, which was that of appeasing evil. If one could, one always sought a balance between submitting to evil demands and preventing the loss of life. Even so, the quiakros (priests) of the tribe advised a swift retaliation, but Wahunsenaca would not do it, fearing for his daughter’s life.
One of Pocahontas’ elder sisters, Mattachanna, and her husband, Uttamattamakin, who was also a priest, were allowed to visit Pocahontas during her captivity. Oral tradition is very distinct on the fact that Pocahontas confided that she had been raped and worse, she suspected she was pregnant. Again, rape was unheard of in Powhatan society. Interestingly, shortly after this confession to her sister, Pocahontas was quickly converted to Christianity in order to rush her into marriage. At this time, it would have been inconceivable for a Christian man to marry anyone who was not Christian. It is also supposed that Sir Thomas Dale was actually the biological father of Pocahontas’s child, since, according to scholars William M.S. Rasmussen and Robert S. Tilton, it was Thomas Dale who was most closely linked to Pocahontas during her kidnapping. Note also that her son’s name was not “John,” but rather “Thomas.” It would also explain why Rolfe (who was secretary of the colony at the time) did not record the birth of Thomas.
Was the marriage one of love? Oral history casts doubt on this. She had just lost her husband, was separated from the father she loved, had given birth to a child from an incident she described as rape, and was rushed into marriage in order to make it appear that the birth had taken place after the marriage. Plus, she was not free to live her own life. She could not come and go as her leisure. Did John Rolfe love her? In a letter to Dale, Rolfe refers to her as a “creature,” not a “woman.” But regardless, whether they loved one another or not, they were married and Rolfe became the heir to the friendliness of the Powhatan people, which included their knowledge of the tobacco plant and how it was processed. Here is where the unsavory aspects of money and greed enter into the equation. The Virgina company wasn’t doing well. There was no gold in the New World, there was no silver, no gems, nothing to make the venture successful. There just had to some way to make the colony prosperous. Would the tobacco plant become their claim to fame?
It seems likely that this might have been their intentions. Rolfe had left England in 1609 with the goal of making a profit growing and processing tobacco. He arrived in 1610 and for three years, he had been unsuccessful at both growing the tobacco and in the processing of it. The year 1616 was the “deadline for the initial investments in the Virginia colony.” From the book THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTAS, it appears that time was running out. The colony was failing. And Rolfe’s crop was failing. Thus, Rolfe himself was failing. What was he to do?
Stay tuned. We’ve gone over her abduction now. Next month, I hope to answer the questions of what possible motive John Rolfe, Captain Argall and Thomas Dale might have had for kidnapping Pocohontas. And then marrying her. Then there’s the question of who killed her? And why? What could her death have accomplished? Most of all, however, how was the deed accomplished and covered up so thoroughly? To the point where it was believed that she had died of small pox?
So come on back next month for the conclusion of The Murder and Abduction of Pocohontas.
Am hoping that you’ll come in an tell me your thoughts about this very real American legend.
So, did you put it together yet? Okay, shall we compare times? Now, before I tell you how long it took me to put the puzzle together, be aware that I am not puzzle-oriented. Okay? It took me 11 minutes and 54 seconds — and that was after I called my husband, Paul (who loves puzzles) to come and help me. I seem, also, to be alone in my lack of tolerance and working over puzzles. Both my daughters, my grandchildren, my husband, his mother, his sister, etc. etc. — all love puzzles and put them together (really hard ones) in no time at all.
Would love to hear your time.
So here’s the multiple choice question: Is the cover?
** RED HAWK’S WOMAN
** THE LAST WARRIOR
** THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF
Thanks so much for coming here today and for playing the game with me. Know that if you leave a comment, you are automatically entered into the drawing that will take place at the end of the week. (All Petticoats and Pistols rules for Giveaways apply.)
Thanks for playing and have a super rest of the week…lots of fun!
So, today, I thought I’d tackle a subject of some interest, since this woman is actually a great American heroine. I’m talking about Pocahontas. And, I’ll be giving away a free copy of THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR today. Just look off to the right here, please, for the rules regarding out give-aways.
Before I start, let me ask you a question: Do you believe the Disney story of Pocahontas? Or some version of it?
I did, well at least I did until I did some research into the actual story of Pocahontas. So, if you don’t mind dropping down a rabbit hole, come along with me in this fascinating subject that has been given a spin so as to cover up an actual murder of this true, American heroine.
Pocahontas’ real name, by the way, was Matoaka — which means “flower between two streams. Now, before I go on, let me do a disclaimer: this post in no way pretends to “know it all,” about this very definite heroine, but I think we might be able to set the story straight, at least a little.
To the left here is probably the most true picture (painting) that we have of Pocahontas. Now, this will probably be the subject of two or three blogs, simply because there’s just too much info to get into one blog. The information that I’m going to be telling you about comes from the book THE TRUE STORY OF POCAHONTES, by Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow and Angela L;. Daniel “Silver Star.” This story that I’m about to present to you is one that is the story that has been passed down orally for hundreds of years by the priests of the Powhatan tribe (Pocahontas’ tribe). It is the story of Pocahontas as told by her own people. It is the story passed down by the tribe’s quiakros — or the chosen few of the tribe, who have spent their lives in learning. One fact that I’m going to say here at the start of this post, mostly because it fascinated me, is that Pocahontas did not die of something. She died for something. And, she did not die of smallpox as is generally reported. She was murdered.
But, as is said in Blackfeet Country, I get ahead of myself. Let’s continue. Pocahontas was indeed a princess. She was born to the paramount chief, Chief Powhatan Wahunsenaca. She was born to Wahunsenaca’s first wife, the wife of his heart late in life. Her mother died giving birth to her — and interestingly enough, her mother’s name was Pocahontas. Wahunsenaca had truly loved his wife and when she died, he showered the love that he’d had for her upon his newborn child. Pocahontas means, by the way “Laughing and joyous one.” As mentioned in the book, the story of Pocahontas is a story of love — not the love between her and John Smith — but rather the story of a father and daughter’s love for one another and for their people. Pocahontas had many older brothers and sisters — many were already married so that caring for the young child was not a problem. She grew up being nursed by several different women of the tribe, which according to the book, might be one reason why her ties to her people were so strong.
To the left here is the more European version of the above painting of Pocahontas and her child. Notice the smiles painted on the faces and the lack of dark circles under her eyes.
Pocahontas was only 10 years old when the colonists stared to arrive in 1607. Because she was the daughter of the paramount chief, she was watched over very, very closely. No running around wild for her. Captain John Smith was 27 years old when he arrived in the New World. The Powhatan tribe was made up of 6 different tribes, with other tribes in its alliance, as well. There were other chiefs, but Powhatan Wahunsenaca was the paramount chief. They all spoke the Algonquain language. Part of the politics of the day was to bring into the tribe an alliance with other peoples and other tribes. Thus, although the Powhatan could have destroyed the colonists at any time, they did not. Instead, they sought to ally the newcomers to them. Perhaps, looking back on history, this was their true mistake.
John Smith — about 6 months after their arrival in the New World — went to explore the countryside. Warriors out hunting for food, discovered him and his party and after a skirmish ensued, Smith was taken captive. Because the English used “thunder sticks” to kill the Indians, the people were afeared of them and were beginning to think of the English as though they were a deity. This next is from the book quoted above — I found it highly interesting: “Smith would pretend to come into a village in a friendly manner. When he was in close proximity to the chief of the village, he would put his pistol to the chief’s head, demanding a ransom of food in exchange for the chief’s release. Smith and his men would proceed to take all the corn and food in the village. As they left, Smith would throw down a few blue beads, claiming to have “traded” with the Powhatan people.”
Does that sound like a man that a young girl would fall in love with? When Smith was taken to Wahunsenaca, it is uncertain whether Pocahontas met Smith at this time or not. Wahunsenaca asked John Smith why the English had come here, to which John Smith replied that they had come to this land to escape the Spanish. Now, the Indians of this country had some trouble with the Spanish, already. In fact they called the Spanish, “sons of the devil..” Remember that Spanish ships would patrol the coasts of the Atlantic coast, sometimes capturing Native people. Relations between the Spanish and the Powhatan were hostile. A little known fact: the word “Indian” does not come from Columbus’ error. Rather it comes from the Spanish word, “indio” meaning to walk with God. I like that meaning.
It is said that Wahunsenaca truly liked John Smith. It was his plan to bring John Smith into the tribe and make him part of the tribe in an effort to consolidate their friendship against the Spanish. Then if the Spanish did come in, they would be faced with the English-Powhatan people. According to Pocahontas’ people, “Although Smith alleged years later that Pocahontas saved his life during the four-day ceremony in the process of his being made a Powhatan werowance, his life was never in danger. His life did not need saving.” A werowance was a commander — male. Also, at this time, Pocahontas was a child. Children were not allowed to attend these kinds of ceremony. The priests would not have allowed Pocahontas to be at the ceremony. After the ceremony, not only was John Smith considered to be a member of the Powhatan tribe, but the entire English colony was considered to be members, too.
In fact, when Smith returned to the English fort, it was the English who tried to kill him. He was put on trial and was sentenced to death. It was Christopher Newport’s arrival in the colony that saved John Smith.
Because the English were now considered part of the tribe, Wahunsenaca sent envoys with food to the Jamestown colony. Because he now trusted John Smith, he allowed his favorite daughter, Pocahontas, to accompany the envoy. Although she was closely watched and chaperoned during these excursions, the colonists became familiar with her, and they associated Pocahontas with the food — not the powerful chief who was in fact sending it. Thus, the rumor that Pocahontas brought food to the colonists against her father’s will, is dispelled as untrue.
What Pocahontas was at this time was a symbol of peace. She was not a spy as some historians have liked to believe. It was during the summer of 1609 that relations between the Powhatan tribe and the English began to deteriorate. Smith entered into villages rudely and with full arms, demanding and taking food. In some instances, he left the Powhatans with no food for the winter. As a matter of fact, this is the speech preserved that Wahunsenaca said to Smith.
“Why do you take by force (that which) you may quickly have by love? Or to destroy them that provide you food? What can you get by war when we can hide our provision and fly to the woods?” Yet John Smith continued to force arms upon the villages in order to take all their food stores, again leaving behind a few beads as though he had traded for the supplies. Maybe he was simply a bully and it’s all he knew. Smith continued to allege that Wahunsenaca wanted to kill him. However, if this were true, it would have been done without apology or explanation. Yet, it wasn’t. Why? Because Smith was considered to be part of the tribe.
Danger came to the Powhatan tribes in the form of rape. In Powhatan society, the children went naked in the summer and women were bare-breasted. It was part of their dress, and did not excite the men in particular because it was such a common sight. Rape was not permitted in Powhatan society. Often the women of the tribe would offer themselves to the English to prevent them from raping their children. Because the English had guns, this was all they could do. Whenever the English would come to the village, the elders would often take the children and hide them in the woods. As more and more English colonists arrived, the atrocities began to grow. Children were often taken to be slaves to the English. The women were simply raped. The Powhatan became shocked at the behavior of the English and set up guards to determine when they were coming to their villages. For their own part, the English kept expecting some sort of retribution by the Powhatan. Neither Wahunsenaca nor Pocahontas had seen John Smith since 1609 and they were told that he was dead. Wahunsenaca discontinued allowing Pocahontas to go to Jamestown. It was no longer safe.
Well, that’s all we have time and space for today. I hope you’ll bear with me and come seek out my post next month as I’ll be discussing Pocahontas’s coming of age. Her marriage to Kocoum, her abduction and her subsequent marriage to John Rolfe. And last but not least, her murder. Why she was murdered and who did the deed, or at least who was responsible for it. Facts, all. Facts that have been hidden all these years which have only recently been brought to light by the people of Pocahontas’s own tribe. I hope you have enjoyed this excursion into history and a look at this very brave heroine. The enormity of her bravery and what she gave up and its cost to her, we’ll go over in my next post (Lord willing).
So, what do you think? Did you already know this, or does this shed a different light on history. It is said, that what is written of history is written by the victors. This has, indeed, been true in the case of Pocahontas. Thank heaven for oral tradition and keeping the truth alive against all odds. So come on in and tell me what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Hope your July 4th celebration was wonderful. July is such a terrific month, isn’t it? Because this is the month of our country’s Declaration of ’76, I’m putting two of my books (which I call my freedom books) on sale for $.99 cents throughout the month of July. Those books are BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER. Usually I give this little warning concerning these two books, which is that these two books are a little more sensuous than my usual Historical Romances.
Then, PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN has just been released in its 25th Anniversary Edition. This book has been out of print for about 25 years and is now back in print.
There’s really quite a bit of editing and that sort of thing that goes into these Anniversary books. Often, when the books were converted from mass market books to e-books, there were errors due to the conversion. So the extra editing is to find those errors and correct them. It’s a beautiful edition and is on sale for $3.99 — regularly priced at $4.99. The paperback edition is also on sale for $9.99. Recently we’ve put our paperback books on sale from $13.99 to $9.99 because with this unusual world situation, sometimes it’s nice to lose ourselves in a story that ends happily.
So, in celebration of this book coming back into print after about 25 years, I’ll leave you with this excerpt and back blurb from the book. Hope you will enjoy.
He rescued her from slavery…now he is captive to desire.
Lakota Warriors, Book 2
Stolen from a cruel husband by the savage Kiowa, Julia Wilson’s life has gone from bad to worse. Just when she has reached the end of her endurance, salvation rides into camp. Neeheeowee, a proud Cheyenne brave who once filled her young heart with romantic dreams, has come to save her from everything—except the flames of desire that still burn.
Bitter and intent on vengeance against the man who killed his wife and unborn child, Neeheeowee has no room in his heart for love. His captured ponies and treasured robes were supposed to be traded for Kiowa weapons. Instead, to his annoyance, he must trade everything for his old friend’s life.
Hard as he tries to hang on to his anger at being set off his mission, he cannot deny that he yearns for the woman whose gentle, healing presence reminds him that happiness might exist beyond revenge. Her lips tease him with passion he dare not risk, for those who are long dead still haunt him. To take the love she offers risks his honor—perhaps his very life.
Warning: Sensuous romance might cause one to go West to find one’s own true love.
Enjoy this excerpt from PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN
They had been traveling that way for some time now, and always, after they had reached the Arkansas River, there had been buffalo. But before that, before they had reached the river, there had been nothing.
She remembered again the harshness of the last few weeks of traveling. It had been a cruel trek across what she now came to realize had been the Jornada, or Horn Alley, as the Americans called it: a desert march.
She remembered being glad to drink of the chalky white substance Neeheeowee had called mahpe, not even caring anymore if the water might be contaminated.
It was also during this time that she’d become aware that they traveled the Santa Fe Trail, and she remembered wondering if she might come across white travelers. So far, though, she had seen no one…up until now.
She looked down again upon the scene below her, her gaze taking in the herd of buffalo that seemed to stretch out to the horizon. Sometimes she and Neeheeowee had been forced to move amongst those numerous herds these past few days, Neeheeowee seemingly at ease over it, Julia half-afraid of the huge beasts. Often they would follow a buffalo trail, seeking out the hollows where buffalo had lain down and rolled over and over, these spots dotting the flat, endless land as though they were shimmering aqua beads strung out on a necklace of brown and green grasses.
It was in these hollows that she and Neeheeowee would water the pony and stock up on their own water supply, if low.
She smiled, watching the sun as it began to set in the western sky, the magnificence of color there, the golds and pinks, the reds and oranges, unlike anything she’d ever seen, and as Julia watched it, she experienced a sense of well-being that was as pleasurable as it was unusual. There was something about this limitless space that did something to her: the prairie that looked more silver than green under the hot, spring sun; the grasses that waved in the wind; the expanse of sky and high clouds. Even the air seemed magnified in purity, and she breathed it in now with a satisfied sigh.
She listened to the wind, the breeze blowing the faraway sounds of the trailblazers to her.
She supposed she might have gone down there to them, since they camped so close by, but she didn’t and she wouldn’t, content to continue her travels with her Indian companion, her proud wolf.
Yes, that was how she had come to think of Neeheeowee now: Proud Wolf. It was difficult not to picture him this way; not when he tilted his head a certain way, sometimes looking down his nose at her, although she knew it was all a facade.
She wondered again at how the white man had ever come to think of the Indian woman as a slave. Clearly there were divisions of labor as to the men’s and women’s work, but Neeheeowee did not balk at taking on her tasks when she didn’t know them or couldn’t do them.
And never did he scold her nor make her feel his inferior. Never.
In truth, she had never felt so cherished.
Still, there was something else: She had never asked, she had not thought to, but she had come to understand that Neeheeowee was taking her back to Fort Leavenworth. Another chivalrous move on his part.
She straightened up, away from the tree, looking out upon the camp that Neeheeowee had pitched. Stretched out beneath a canopy of cottonwood trees, their site disappeared into the landscape. And she knew it would take more than a little expertise for anyone, even an Indian, to find their camp.
She had noticed that Neeheeowee made no moves to light a fire this night, and Julia could only assume that was because of the close presence of the pioneers. And though she had come to realize that Neeheeowee did not much fear the white man, he did go out of his way to avoid them.
She glanced over to Neeheeowee now and watched him as he worked at camp chores, untying his bow, working over the wood, even chipping away at an arrowhead and shaft. These actions had become so commonplace to her of late, she barely even noticed him doing them.
As though aware of her scrutiny, Neeheeowee inclined his head just slightly before turning it quickly to his left, a gesture which had become familiar to Julia, and she couldn’t help but believe it an Indian custom, with some meaning to it.
He looked over to her, his expression stoic, unreadable.
“Ta-naestse,” he said, making a gesture toward her, indicating her voice. With a lift of his shoulders, he gave her to understand that he asked a question and Julia realized she had been humming, something she’d not been aware of until this moment. She stopped, but he motioned her to continue and then, possibly by way of a compliment, he smiled.
Julia was immediately captivated; so rarely did he honor her with such an expression.
She smiled back and continued to hum in tune along with the lazy fiddle, whose notes drifted up to them from the pioneer camp below. She knew the song being played down there and had she felt more at ease she might have sung along, but, being a little self-conscious, she contented herself with a mere hum.
At length, she rose, wandering to the edge of the ridge and there, looked over to the pioneer camp. Dusk had fallen all around her, bringing with it the scent of the pioneers’ campfire, the soft feel of evening air, and the nightly squawk of prairie hawks. Also, too, were the sounds of laughter and of happy music which filtered up to her. All at once, a sense of melancholy overcame her, and Julia wondered at the cause. Perhaps it was only her desire to be near to the things she had once known, or perhaps it was simply the melancholy which she had heard so often attached itself to the prairie traveler.
Whatever the cause, Julia began to recall the dances, the jigs, the excitement of being young, unattached, and in love, the thrill of being asked to dance by the most handsome of beaus.
Caught up in her reminiscence, she swayed to the rhythm of a jig, her feet finding their way into the simple steps of the dance. And all at once, she twirled once, again, until at length she spread her arms, spinning round and round, the leather fringe of her gown flowing outward and swaying like so much prairie grass in the wind.
She smiled as a slower waltz took over the beat and melody, remembering when she’d danced to this very song not so long ago.
And without even thinking about it, she curtsied as though to a suitor.
“Oh, my, yes,” she said to this most handsome of imaginary partners. “I’d be more than happy to accept this dance.”
Her arms came up to rest on her partner’s strong, invisible shoulders as he began to twirl her around and around the carpet of prairie grass, the hard earth beneath her feet her dance floor, the darkened sky overhead her ballroom.
“Are you planning to ask me to walk with you in the garden after the dance?” Julia asked into her shadowy partner’s ear, throwing her head back while the dark curls of her hair fell down around her waist.
She giggled as she pretended her fanciful partner’s reply, deeming it to be a most naughty of answers, and she feigned a blush, saying softly, “Why sir, how dare you speak to me as such.”
But when she smiled, it took the edge off her words, so that the dreamy figure holding her continued to whisper to her, the words so terribly naughty, it made Julia laugh.
She reached down, to sweep the train of her fictitious gown over her arm and then it happened.
Neeheeowee stood before her, stepping into her arms as though he were her fancied prince, his very real arms encircling her, his hand over hers.
His steps were smooth and slow, his look at her intense under the beginning shadows of a softened night.
She matched his steps, looking up to meet his gaze.
The moon appeared as an imperfect disk in the soft hush of evening, its radiance already beaming down, basking them in a glow of silvery light, and, as she looked up to him, Julia thought Neeheeowee more handsome than anyone of her acquaintance, and at this moment he bore more traits of what is considered the civilized man than anyone else, white or red.
Her one hand rested over his smooth shoulder, her other hand he clasped tightly within his own and he twirled her around their ballroom of softened prairie grass and hushed, moon-filled night. They danced as though to the tune of a hundred violins with thousands of spectators watching, yet they danced only for themselves.
The music from below had long ago ceased to play, but not so these two dancers. They swept around the circle there on the ridge, each twirl bringing her closer and closer into his arms, neither one aware that they danced to none other than the music of their own hearts.
His head came breathlessly close to hers, his lips hovering over her own and Julia, looking up, begged him silently for his kiss, her gaze pleading, her lips trembling.
She didn’t have to wait. As he completed the one last twirl, his lips pressed sweetly over hers and Julia responded as though she had waited all her life for this moment, or more particularly, seven and one-half years.
Well, today I thought we might look at the poet, philosopher and performer who was — in his younger days — a political activist for his tribe. That man is John Trudell.
John Trudell’s life was so full and he accomplished so many things that I don’t believe I could really do his story justice with one simple blog. But I’ll try.
John Trudell was an Indian Activist who was the spokesperson for the Occupation of Alcatraz in the early 1970’s. One of the quotes from his first wife that I found so stunning was when he told his wife that they were going to the Alcatraz Occupation, she told him she was afraid she’d get cold feet. His response was, “Wear socks.”
He was also a part of the American Indian Movement, also in the 1970’s.
He tells the story of his father and how he and his father and mother came to be married. His father was Lakota and his mother was Mexican. John said in an interview that his father literally stole his mother and rode away with her on horseback. But they loved one another and the marriage worked.
John was briefly in the Navy, but it didn’t appear that this held great interest for him and he soon returned to the reservation. He met his second wife, Tina, in 1971 and in 1972 they became a couple. It was a troubling time to be on an Indian Reservation. There had been some shoot-outs and tensions were high on the Pine Ridge Reservation in So. Dakota. In February of 1979, John was engaged in protests in Washington DC. On the 11th of February, he burned an American Flag on the steps of the FBI building in protest of the injustices to the American Indian people. Within 12 hours after that event, his wife, Tina, and their three children and Tina’s mother were killed in a sudden fire in their home on her reservation in Death Valley. Tina was also pregnant at the time.
John said in interviews that he had to die, too, in order to get through each day after his family’s death. But he also said that Tina’s parting gift to him was the gift of her poetry. She was the poet in the family. He said in interview that it was she who encouraged him to write down his thoughts, and to write them down using poetry. It was her parting gift to him.
And so he did begin to write. His poems were often heart-felt and sometimes they were fiery and full of passion for life and for his people. He became involved in reading his poetry in public places, and on one occasion, he met Jessie Ed Davis, a Kiowa guitarist, who said that he could put John’s poems to music. And thus began the poetry from John Trudell’s heart and the many concerts that you can still see online.
John has influenced many Native American artists. I’ve only recently discovered John’s work, but I have found it profound. So I’m going to show you some quotes of his that I find inspirational.
You can still find his concerts and his talks and interviews on the internet. John became, or perhaps he always was, philosophical, and his wisdom was often sought after by many people of all different races. This last quote, off to the left here is probably my favorite of his quotes, if only because I find this very profound in today’s world, which has become more than a little strange.
I’ve said this to my closest friends, and I’ll tell you this today in this blog. Whatever else we as a people are involved in, I believe we are in a spiritual war against some dark forces. I admit that I’ve heard this saying over and over and over, but I never really understood it until recently. But I believe that this is what John was saying when he said “protect your spirit”: In this life, one has many choices, but if one chooses the path of violence, theft, and the stripping of another’s God-given rights and happiness, all in the attainment of some materialistic goal, one is looking at one’s eternity as though one were painting oneself into a corner — and, it seems to me that in doing those things which bring harm to another, one is not “protecting one’s spirit.” I guess he was saying that one has the choice spiritually…and maybe that’s what he means by “Protect your spirit….”
John Trudell died in 2015. He left behind him a legacy of beauty, of music and poetry. He also left behind him a philosophy that I believe enriches one’s soul.
Well, that’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed the blog. Often, I think of the American Indian Hero as having lived in the long ago past. But John Trudell was a modern hero. At least that is my opinion of him.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.
Am offering a free download of the book, LAKOTA SURRENDER today in honor of John Trudell, a wonderful poet, philosopher and a Lakota Indian. This is a download from BookFunnel and will be up only for the next fews days. Grab it while you can: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/uq6ti9a1kw
Hope y’all had a terrific day today — and for all those of us who have these days running together nowadays…at least we have remembered what day it is today.
Anyway, we do have a winner for the free e-book of THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME. We have two winners, actually (sometimes when I draw out a person’s name, I get two pieces of paper at the same time.)
So, those winners are:
Bill Koon Jr.
Dawn & Bill, if you would please email me privately with the address that you use at Amazon to buy things (NOT your Kindle address), I can get the book sent to you — it will come directly from Amazon. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to you both and many, many thanks to all those who came to the blog and who left a message.