As noted in previous posts, Disney pictures released some of the most influential films of our generation. While reading The Ecological Indian, I couldn't help but remember a Disney movie that noted the environmental lifestyle of Native Americans before Colonizers: Pocahontas. Could this movie potentially have influenced our perception of nature and Indians by hardcoding its scenes and soundtracks into our youthful minds?
Remember back to your earlier days and I'm sure that you've probably hummed "Colors of the Wind" or at least cursed it for getting stuck in your head at least once. In Pocahontas, Native Americans were portrayed as the link between nature (the colors of the wind, land, willow trees, rivers, and pesky raccoons) and mankind (John Smith and his band of European colonizers). Pocahontas seemed to have made herself one with the earth and all of its elements, learning to live in harmony with nature and wilderness. By befriending not only the animals but also the trees, Disney asserts that Indians intracted with nature in a peaceful manner. Through the songs "Just around the Riverbend" and "Colors of the Wind", Disney asserted that the Indians knew their environment so intricately that there was little that kept them from merely dissolving into the earth and being swept away in the wind. Though the principal theme of Pocahontas was the romance between her and John Smith, the clash of two cultures and ultimately the tale of Pocahontas, one cannot deny its powerful statement about the realtionship between Indians and their environment.
So, one can only ponder, why haven't we watched Pocahontas in class yet?