The Powhatan Confederation
By Jane Kosa
Pocahontas, the Powhatan princess who befriended the Jamestown colonists, married the Englishman John Rolfe in 1614, and is believed by many to have saved John Smith's life -- that is why the world knows the Powhatan Confederacy. Her father, Powhatan, almost alone, united the small scattered Algonquian tribes of present-day Virginia and Delaware into a thirty tribe group in the late 1500s. We know this group as the Powhatan Confederacy. The Confederacy included 128 Algonquian villages and 20,000+ people at its peak in the early 1600s.
Powhatan and his people welcomed the English settlers in 1607 and helped them survive the first winter here by teaching them how to grow corn and tobacco, providing them medicine, and helping them hunt. Read about how the relationship between the natives and new arrivals deteriorated and the eventual downfall of the Confederacy.
In the Library
Brave Are My People: Indian Heroes Not Forgotten by Frank Waters.
This book discusses the following Indian leaders: Deganawidah, the peacemaker; Powhatan; Massasoit; Metacomet; Pontiac; Thayendanegea, or Joseph Brant; Red Jacket; Tecumseh; Black Hawk; Sequoyah; Osceola; Mangas Coloradas; Manuelito; Irataba; Chief Joseph; and Chief Seattle.
The Double Life of Pocahontas by Jean Fritz.
This biography of the famous American Indian princess emphasizes her life-long adulation of John Smith and the roles she played in two very different cultures.
The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography: Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People, from Powhatan to Wilma Mankiller by Bruce E. Johansen and Donald A. Grinde, Jr.
Read biographies of Pocahontas and Powhatan in this reference work.
My Name is Pocahontas by William Accorsi.
In this short book, the Indian princess describes meeting John Smith and the other English colonists and eventually traveling to England to discover more about their culture.
Pocahontas by Margaret Hudson.
Read a brief (24 pages) account of the life of the Indian princess who befriended Captain John Smith and the English settlers of Jamestown.
Pocahontas: Daughter of a Chief by Carol Greene.
Read a brief biography of the American Indian princess who as a young girl befriended John Smith, saving him from death at the hands of her father, and later was very helpful to the colonists at Jamestown.
Powhatan by Kay Bonner Nee.
This is a biography of the Algonquian chief who assured the survival of the Jamestown colonists and is remembered as the builder of the Powhatan Confederacy of Indian tribes.
The Powhatan: A Confederacy of Native American Tribes by Tracey Boraas.
Read an overview of the past and present lives of the Powhatan people, tracing their customs, family life, history, culture, and relations with the United States government.
The Powhatan Indians by Melissa McDaniel.
This book discusses the history of the Powhatan Indians and their social life and customs.
The Powhatan People by Kim Covert.
Covert presents an overview of the past and present lives of the Powhatan people, covering their daily activities, customs, family life, religion, government, and history.
The Powhatan Tribes by Christian F. Feest.
Study the history, culture, and changing fortunes of the Powhatan Indians.
The Story of Pocahontas by Caryn Jenner.
This beginning reader examines the life of the Indian princess Pocahontas and her contact with English settlers, especially John Smith.
The Virginia Colony by Dennis B. Fradin.
Learn about the history, economy, culture, and people of the Virginia colony from the early Indian settlements to the Revolution. Read brief biographies of prominent Virginians of the period from Powhatan to Thomas Jefferson and Henry Lee.
On the Web
Four Faces of Pocahontas
According to Native American lore, her parents knew her as "Amonte" and her secret clan name was "Matoaca." Her European Christian friends called her "Lady Rebecca." Many have revered her as the "mother" of our nation, the female counterpart to George Washington. We know her as Pocahontas, legendary Indian princess, daughter of the mighty Chief Powhatan.
Read the biography of Pocahontas, an Indian princess who assisted the Jamestown settlement in North America and worked for peace between her people and the English settlers. The Arts and Entertainment Television Biography Project prepared this Web site.
"In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as "Pocahontas". In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is 'responsible, accurate, and respectful.' We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected."
Powhatan Indian Lifeways
This National Park Service Web page provides information on the lives of the Powhatan Indians.