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Monday, February 22, 2010

The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History

David A. ZimmerPrint

Although I am of German, Italian and Irish decent, I have always been very interested in the native American and their way of life. I have read the history books given to me by the school system, but I always wondered if there was another side to the story - the native American's side.

While on vacation last summer in Williamsburg, VA, we went to the original Jamestown.  Of course, they had a book store. Off to the side, there was this book and it caught my eye. After inquiring about its contents and the veracity of the material, I bought it. I believe it will give me insight into stories I've never heard - from the native American's perspective. So far, I've enjoyed reading it.

Epilogue: This book was quite interesting to me. I found the information provided to enlighten me concerning one of our favorite childhood stories. I thought it was interesting the book seemed to take Pocahontas off the pedestal and frame her into an everyday person who eventually found her mission - to save her people from the colonization of USA. She died before she could complete the work.

I've learned a long time ago there are three sides to every story: your side, my side and the truth and they never agree. I believe this book brings out many facets we never studied in our history books - at least the ones I used while in grade school. If I were to compare the two, there is probably truth in both accountings of history, but I would tend to believe this book to recount more accurately the settlers' actions against the Powhatan nation than the "recorded history" I learned.

According to the book, the Powhatan Indians were more inclined to help the new settlers while the greed for wealth and fortune motivated the actions of the colonizers. I felt this account of history to be more accurate simply because the Powhatan having nothing to gain by misleading the public while the English - at the time - had many ulterior motives to scuttle their true behavior. On the negative side, the history is passed down orally with no written records. While every attempt is taken to keep it accurate, personal biases and retelling of the story can let some embellishments in. We have to fairly weigh the accuracy.

Besides learning new information about this event in history, I like to apply it to my personal and business life. It re-enforced the idea I must not simply take events, information and "stories" at a surface level. I must understand what is going on behind the scenes. This applies to both my personal and business life. I am not suggesting we become suspicious or try to read too much into every situation, but certainly, we need to take the time to hear and understand both sides of a situation.

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