1608, January 2: Captain John Smith is freed by Powhatan.
From the National Park Service’s excellent reconsideration of Anglo-Indian encounters in the seventeenth century, incorporating incisive observations from today’s Native American tribal leaders and members:
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.
March 8, 2004: Native Voice interview: “There was no need for Pocahontas to ‘save’ Smith! He was being made a werowance.” — Kirk Moore, Pamunkey Tribal Member