Released on June 23rd, 1995 is loosely based on the story of Pocahontas. Set in 1607, Captain John Smith (Mel Gibson ), Governor Ratcliff (David Ogden) sail a crew of English settlers on the Susan Constant to the New World. On the way, they are caught in a storm. Smith saves a young crewman named Thomas (Christian Bal ) and the men speak of adventures, fighting the “injuns,” settling in the New World, and finding gold.
Meanwhile, in the Powhatan tribe, Pocahontas (Irene Becard) is told by her father Chief Powhatan (Russell Means) that the bravest warrior Kocoum (James Apaumut Fall) has asked for her hand in marriage. Chief Powhatan gifts Pocahontas with her mother’s necklace. Pocahontas her companion’s Flit (Frank Welker) a hummingbird and a raccoon named Meeko (John Kassir). Pocahontas tells Grandmother Willow of a re-occurring dream of a spinning arrow, confused on what path she should take in life. Grandmother Willow tells Pocahontas to follow her heart and then alerts her to the newcomers. Pocahontas climbs the tree to see the “strange new clouds” arriving. Curious, Pocahontas gets closer to watch the new settlers but hides to protect herself.
Back with the settlers, Governor Ratcliff declares the new settlement to be Jamestown then orders his men to dig for gold. John Smith however leaves for the woods to explore, encountering Pocahontas. Sharing their worlds, John Smith and Pocahontas fall in love but Powhatan finds out and warns her to stay away after their warriors engaged in a fight with the settlers.
Pocahontas and John Smith meet again and come up with Ob to unite the Powhatan tribe and the English settlers. Not knowing that both Kocoum and Thomas are watching, Pocahontas and John Smith, upon seeing Thomas kills Kocoum to protect John Smith. John Smith tells Thomas to leave just before he’s captured by the tribesmen. Powhatan sets John Smith’s execution to sunrise and declares war on the Englishman. Pocahontas pleads with her father but furious about her disobeying him, she’s ordered to stay in the village.
Meanwhile, Thomas gets back to Jamestown safety and tells other men about Smith’s capture. Governor Ratcliff rallies the men for battle as does Chief Powhatan. The following morning the two sides meet at a cliffside as Powhatan prepares to kill John smith. Pocahontas stops him, saving John Smith but an angry Ratliff shoots, injuring Smith instead of his intended target, Chief Powhatan.
Ratliff is arrested by his crewmen. John Smith must return home to get medical treatment but he asks Pocahontas to come with him. Pocahontas declines and Chief Powhatan gives John Smith his blessing to return in the future.
Pocahontas is the only Native/Indigenous film in animation by Disney. They attempted to tell the tragedy of what happened to a young Pocahontas, whose real name is Matoaka, but Disney tanked it in terms of truth. That being said, the music, art and the lines from Chief Powhatan were spot on. Chief Powhatan told the truth when he said “White men are dangerous.” While this film did come out in 1995, it truly does reflect how Natives were treated and thought of colonizers from the time the United States was beginning to be settled by Europeans all the way up to modern times. I can go on a whole rant with what is being discovered right now in Canada and soon the USA and how we broke treaties and had a genocide against Indigenous people.
With that said, I want to log off with this song, which speaks true to Indigenous tribes.