In the summer of 1995, Disney released its 33rd animated feature, Pocahontas, which purported to show the adventures of the Powhatan princess, Pocahontas. The film grossed $346 million, and Pocahontas joined the pantheon of Disney princesses. She was a fresh new type of princess, hailed for her bravery and fortitude. She even had “a badass tattoo,” and a “a fantastic sense of humor.“
She was also a complete and utter lie.
The only thing was, her real name was Matoaka, which means “flower between two streams” (Pocahontas was a nickname, which basically means “naughty one”) and she never had a relationship with John Smith, since she was around 10 when he arrived.
As Vincent Shilling of Indian County Today explains, “Smith was feared by many Native people because he was known to enter villages and put guns to heads of chiefs demanding food and supplies.”
Yeah, definitely not a hero.
In fact, Pocahontas was taken prisoner by the colonists, during which time she was raped and terrorized. Then she was taken to England in a greedy ploy to drum up financial support for Virginia, and very likely poisoned to death.
As you can see, the story of Pocahontas isn’t really a good one…
On Monday, Donald Trump was at an event honoring the Code Talkers, Navajo veterans who came up with an unbreakable code that was instrumental in helping America during World War II.
As one veteran, Major Howard Connor, who was the signal officer of the Navajos at Iwo Jima, said, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.”
“I just want to thank you because you are very, very special people,” Trump said. “You were here long before any of us were here. Although, we have a representative in Congress who has been here a long time … longer than you — they call her Pocahontas!”
Just like that, Trump started a media firestorm, and there’s a couple of reasons people are mad.
“I am very proud of my heritage,” Warren once told NPR. “These are my family stories. This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad, my mammaw and my pappaw. This is our lives. And I’m very proud of it.”
CNN notes “In that account and others, a genealogist traced Warren’s Native American heritage to the late 19th century, which, if true, would make her 1/32 Native American. (However, the legitimacy of those findings has been debated.)”
All this is to say, even though Warren has a vague claim to Native American heritage, Trump should not use it as an insult.
In fact, Michael Harriot of the Root had to break it down with this explanation.
“Calling someone by a stereotypical name that is not their own because of their alleged ethnic or racial background is racist.”
He followed it up with this basic, commonsense explanation. “Here is the biggest reason Trump’s nasty nickname is racist: because Native Americans said so.”
By someone else, we mean Eric Trump, the gun-happy, elephant-killing middle son of Trump, who waded into murky historical/political waters with an ill-advised tweet.
“The irony of an ABC reporter (whose parent company Disney has profited nearly half a billion dollars on the movie “Pocahontas”) inferring that the name is “offensive” is truly staggering to me,” the tweet read.
This commenter had the perfect breakdown of Trump Jr.’s tweet. Also, we’re not sure Trump Jr. knows Pocahontas was a real person…
But other commenters had more thoughts about Eric Trump’s tweet.
I’m starting to think Eric Trump isn’t very bright. https://t.co/09XtsM9O5o— Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) November 28, 2017
Let’s be very clear. Eric Trump just tried to excuse his dad’s racism displayed at an event to honor war heroes by using a Disney animated movie as his defense. ?THIS IS WHERE WE ARE. THIS IS THE TRUMP FAMILY. — Nicki ? (@nickiknowsnada) November 28, 2017
The irony of Eric Trump, (whose “dad” has clearly shunted him to the shadows for his Quasimodo looks and stunted intellect) saying he’s staggered by ANYTHING his “dad” is accused of is… dude, STFU and sip your damn juice box. https://t.co/Dc3tYIPki0— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) November 28, 2017
In Eric Trump logic: You can call people a Tramp without it being offensive because Disney made a movie once…— Alt Fed Employee (@Alt_FedEmployee) November 28, 2017
bruh that movie was about pocahontas https://t.co/afFpntwfOW— Pat Dennis (@patdennis) November 28, 2017
I feel confident that Eric Trump does not know that Pocahontas was a real person https://t.co/CUwfTuG6w4— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) November 28, 2017