Historical Inaccuracies: Pocahontas
Perhaps one of the most obvious points critics have grilled Disney over are historical inaccuracies in their few films which are actually based on real events. “Pocahontas” has been dubbed a travesty on the history of the Native American genocide.
The title character is portrayed as a native woman who falls in love with settler John Smith, but in reality Pocahontas was only 10 at the time. Smith did befriend the girl but there was no romance. An even worse travesty is the film’s end. The settlers become friends with the natives and everyone lives happily ever after. Really Disney?
In fact, 90% of the indigenous people in America were wiped out by a combination of disease and genocide of crazed religious settlers, believing their actions justified by the idea of “manifest destiny”. Those who survived were subjected to poor living conditions and servitude to the land-grabbing Europeans, who subsequently became Americans.
Pocahontas’s personal life was no fairy tale either. Soon after John Smith left for England, Pocahontas was kidnapped. During this time, she was baptized with the new Christian name of Rebecca, was more than likely abused, and quite possibly beaten and raped. And then a man by the name of John Rolfe came into her life and the two soon were married. She gave birth to one son, and soon became ill and died of small pox. Her life was so far off the story Disney portrayed that historical fact was pretty much nonexistent in the film.