There have been various legends associated with the origins of Thanksgiving Day, and there is no surety of which legend holds true to the festival we celebrate today. Thanksgiving is closely associated with the legend of a one-time feast holiday that celebrated a particular harvest in the early 1600's. It is said that a group of English colonists tried to establish a life in America and were confronted with the traditional Powhatan Indians, who were against the idea of English colonization. However, legend states that there was a young girl named Pocahontas who helped these settlers during their first, harsh winter. It is believed, that the winter was so harsh, that none of the settlers would have survived had it not been for Pocahontas. At the end of the winter, a Thanksgiving celebration was held to commemorate her hard work. A popular, animated rendition of this touching Thanksgiving story was produced by Walt Disney and was called 'Pocahontas'. Read on.
Pocahontas, the popular Walt Disney Animation, was made in 1995 and is the story of a Native American girl called Pocahontas and an English soldier, Captain John Smith in 16th Century Virginia. Directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg, the movie is a classic thanksgiving tale complete with sparkling waters, rugged cliffs, lovely tunes and the blooming love between peace-loving Pocahontas and the ravishing English settler, John Smith. The story begins with a rag-tag herd of soldiers, headed by Captain John Smith and Governer Ratcliffe, who come in search of 'gold' to the New World. Meanwhile, in the 'New World', Native American, Chief Powhatan has pledged his daughter Pocahontas, to be married to the village's greatest warrior, Kokum; however, Pocahontas has other ideas. She has seen the vision of a spinning arrow that tells her about changes to come, and also shares her deepest feelings with grandmother Willow; a spiritual, talking tree who tells her to listen to her heart. Pocahontas is seen paddling through crystal clear rivers or playing with her animal friends, Meeko, a raccoon and a hummingbird, Flit. When the European settlers arrive on her land, she is immediately drawn towards the handsome John Smith, and is encouraged by Grandmother Willow to take things further, and the two get to know each other better.
However, Governor Ratcliffe is on a serious mission of retrieving gold and persuades a dutiful sentinel, follows Smith into the forest one night and discovers a blooming romance between the Captain and the Native American girl. The sentry informs the governor, and this tragic mistake leads to the brink of war between the Native Americans and the English. What follows, are topsy-turvy misunderstandings, brawls and the desperate fight of Pocahontas and John Smith to stop the two sides from going to war and to protect the Indian land from being plundered for 'gold'.
Pocahontas And Thanksgiving
What children can learn from this Disney classic is that, it is never too late to be thankful for anything. In the movie, Pocahontas teaches Captain John Smith on how to learn to love what nature has given to them in copious amounts and not chase after something materialistic, like gold. The strong, Indian native also teaches him how to live his life boundless, understand and protect nature's balance, peace and harmony. Throughout the movie, one will see Pocahontas soaking in the beauty of nature, singing songs and listening to her 'spirit within'.
Although the story has been critiqued for its historical accuracy, the movie will surely get the children engaged and interested in learning more about Thanksgiving and Native American legends. In this movie, it is Captain John Smith who learned from Pocahontas and is seen thanking her towards the end of the film for opening his eyes and getting him to appreciate the smaller things in life. The movie also throws light on aspects like harmony, belief and gratitude, most of which are synonymous with the idea of Thanksgiving.
One of the biggest and the best Disney Classics ever made, Pocahontas was also one of the first animated movies that was based on a real-life account, though there have been various debates about its accuracy. This Thanksgiving, if you are planning to sit with your family and watch a movie suitable for the kids, then Disney's Pocahontas might be a good option. Not only will your children get an insight into Native American history but will also learn of Thanksgiving ideals that have been depicted with the right amount of soul, brevity and fictional drama.