How can there be so much that you don’t know?
~ from Disney’s Pocahontas
Before the area was ‘colonised’ by Europeans in the 1700s, my neck of the woods in Cow Bay was considered a prime hunting and fishing spot by the Mi’kmaq tribe during summer months. It must have been an incredibly beautiful place back then: sparkling waters, sandy beaches and an abundance of wild berries growing in the open spaces overlooking the ocean. I often wonder about the people who walked the trails in this forest centuries before my home was built here. What did they feel and think as they listened to the wind in the trees and the rain falling on the waters in the bog?
Disney’s movie Pocahontas attempts to contrast the attitude of Native People with that of Europeans upon their arrival in the New World. It also carries the message of our connection to one another and the earth in a song called the ‘Colors of the Wind.’ I hadn’t watched it in years, but when I saw it again recently, I was reminded of what a masterpiece it is.
Pocahontas’ real name was Matoaka. She was a member of the Powhatan tribe, who were rightly angered in the late 1990s by the way Disney exploited her story and distorted history for entertainment’s sake. However, Disney did correctly portray her as a bridge builder between the cultures that began to clash in North America in the 1600s with the arrival of European colonists. She was a risk-taker who was willing to see past surface differences in order to connect with others at a deeper, common level, for the benefit of all.
As unique as we may think we are, with our different habits and origins, we are all more alike than not. Perhaps the greatest thing that we don’t know, is how much we are all the same.