Pocahontas' First Marriage: The Powhatan Side of the Story

August 9, 2014 8:25 PM

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Pocahontas' First Marriage: The Powhatan Side of the Story

As Virginia institutions celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Pocahontas-Rolfe marriage this year, a crucial event in the Commonwealth's venerable self-image, we should recognize that existing Native traditions put it in a very different perspective. In 1614, Pocahontas, daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Indians, was baptized in Christianity and married planter John Rolfe, giving birth to her son Thomas.

But other Native voices, recording tribal oral tradition, remind us that Pocahontas's first marriage was to an Indian warrior named Kocoum and that this first marriage produced her first son, whose ancestors survive today.

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