From the National Park Service’s reexamination of Anglo-Indian encounters in the Seventeenth Century, a look at the very first and most famous event: Captain John Smith and Pocahantas! What I find most interesting is the observation of a Pamunkey tribe member, below:

December 1607

A hunting party, consisting of Opechancanough and other Powhatan warriors, captures Captain John Smith and detains him. Two Englishmen die in the struggle. Smith is taken around to the nearby villages and then to Werowocomoco, the Powhatancapital, to see Chief Wahunsenacawh Powhatan, the paramount chief of Tsenacomoco. Chief Powhatan tells Captain John Smith that Smith is going to be made a werowance, a leader. Years later, Smith alleges that Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, saves his life during the four-day ceremony.


January 2, 1608

True to his word, Chief Powhatan releases Captain John Smith within four days. Smith returns to Jamestown.7

Native Voice

“There was no need for Pocahontas to ‘save’ Smith! He was being made a werowance.”

— Kirk Moore

Pamunkey Tribal Member

March 8, 2004

via Colonial National Historical Park: A Study of Virginia Indians and Jamestown-The First Century (Chapter 7).