April 02, 2007

Mixed feelings about Pocahontas

Speaker critiques Indian portrayals

As part of Jamestown 2007 events, an anthropologist says that most films ignore the realities of American Indian life.Q: Do you think that contradiction is symbolic of America in a lot of ways?

A: The Pocahontas story is symbolic of many aspects of American history, and that's why I think it's been retold through so many generations in so many different ways. It's a romantic story about the way things might have been.

And so I think in telling that romantic story, Disney is invoking a sense of loss and nostalgia that many Americans have for a past that might have been more peaceful and more environmentally conscious.

But also they're marketing it in a way that's entirely part of the culture that came to dominate the continent. So yes, I would say it's symbolic of the sort of mixed feelings that many Americans have toward their past.

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