Pocahontas was the daughter of a powerful Indian chief, born in 1595, in what is now Virginia, USA. She became famous in both American and British history for saving the life of an English captain, John Smith. 400 years after her birth, in 1995, Disney released an animated musical film telling her story. This beautifully drawn movie shows how the young Indian princess falls in love with the handsome captain and brings peace between her people and his.

Although the film was inspired by legend more than history, it addresses some of the more serious questions that the original story raised. When the European settlers arrived in the seventeenth century they destroyed the natural habitat and imposed their ideas on the native population. Like all Disney classics, it has cute animals and memorable songs but the animals don’t talk, it’s not funny and there’s no happy ending. Its real message is about racial tolerance and protecting the environment. It’s definitely a ‘real’ story in cartoon form. But while the important messages it contains will make both adults and children think and ask questions, critics wondered if it is trying just a bit too hard to teach its audience a lesson?

 

Watch the  and sing the song!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustration by Barbara Nascimbeni, taken from The True Story of Pocahontas told by Kelly Reinhart, Green Apple Step One (A2)