Pocahontas

Culture

Nov 29, 2017 by Alyssa Duvall

How Should Christians React To Trump's "Pocahontas" Joke?

In a passionate editorial for Relevant Magazine, author and worship leader Kaitlin Curtice responded to President Trump’s “Pocahontas” jab at Senator Elizabeth Warren. The joke was made offhandedly as the President addressed a group of Native American war heroes. According to Curtice, however, the time has come for Christians to stand up and to “stop using the name Pocahontas in jokes, costumes, and everyday fairytales."

Like many girls who grew up in America in the ‘90s and especially as a Native American herself, Curtice recalled Disney’s retelling of Pocahontas’ story as a cherished part of her childhood. However, she explains, “the reality is (like most of what I was taught in history books) it was a lie. The true story of Pocahontas, or Matoaka, is not what the movie portrays, and is far more gruesome–far more true to the reality many indigenous women have faced throughout history.”

While Trump’s joke was largely in reference to discrepancies in Senator Warren’s claims of Native American heritage, Curtice says that the issue is the President’s “countenance, and the countenance of so many who don’t give a second thought to disrespecting indigenous culture and stories.”

“I’ve been called Pocahontas,” Curtice continues. “I’ve had my hair in braids, and someone thought it appropriate to drop a joke because of it. The difference is, they weren’t the President.”

Calling for a massive cultural reflection on our attitudes toward Native American history, Curtice warns that “if we can’t fix this in our everyday circumstances, in our schools, in our history books, in our movies and costumes, we can’t fix it in our leadership.”

“It’s time,” Curtice concludes, “to lament, to wail and mourn over the ignorance and hateful rhetoric. It’s time for the church to stand up against powers of oppression and claim that it will be willing to set itself under the teaching of the oppressed...It’s time we do it to honor the life and true story of Matoaka.”



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