Pocahontas, Columbus among top 10 archive reads

Vincent Schilling

The real stories behind these well-known names, and Thanksgiving, are among Indian Country Today’s consistently popular articles

Vincent Schilling
Indian Country Today

Indian Country Today’s archived stories that cover a wide range of historical and educational topics have long been popular on our site as a resource for students, teachers and historians around the world. When end-of-year school and term papers are due, our reader numbers jump.

This year’s No. 1 archived story is about the real history of Pocahontas — a story that was portrayed as a fairy tale by Disney but was in fact about tragedy and loss. Pocahontas never married John Smith or loved him (she was about 9 when Smith arrived, and Smith was about 30). She was kidnapped after her husband was killed, sexually assaulted, became pregnant and was taken overseas, poisoned then buried in England.

Other stories included how horses were indeed present in the United States before the settlers arrived.

Related:
Indian Country year in review: Major moments
Indian Country Today’s top 20 stories of 2020

A story from 2018, in which a 33-year-old Alaska man assaulted a Native woman and served no jail time, still enrages many in Indian Country and continues to be shared.

Other stories include the origin of the word “squaw” and its offensive nature to Native women; the Wampanoag side of the Thanksgiving story; and an article on Christopher Columbus.

In the Columbus story, many accounts of atrocities committed by Columbus and his men are told by writings of the people around Columbus, his own words and letters and other historical accounts that include murder, rape and vicious dogs of war.

Other top stories examine natural pain remedies, the terms “Native American” vs. “American Indian,” President Theodore Roosevelt’s volatile words toward Native people, and the concept of gender in Indian Country.

Here is a list of our top 10 archives.

As a warning to our readers, some of our stories below contain mature subject matter:

1. The True Story of Pocahontas: Historical Myths Versus Sad Reality

2. Yes world, there were horses in Native culture before the settlers came

Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin with one of her horses at the Sacred Way Sanctuary.
Photo by: Jacquelyn Córdova

3. Non-Native man guilty of strangling, sexualizing Native woman will serve no time

4. The Word Squaw: Offensive or Not?

5. The Wampanoag Side of the First Thanksgiving Story

6. 8 Myths and Atrocities About Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus is shown landing in the West Indies, on an island that the Natives called Guanahani and he named San Salvador, on October 12, 1492. He raises the royal banner, claiming the land for his Spanish patrons, and stands bareheaded, with his hat at his feet, in honor of the sacredness of the event. The captains of the Niña and Pinta follow, carrying the banner of Ferdinand and Isabella. The crew displays a range of emotions, some searching for gold in the sand. Natives watch from behind a tree. Painting by John Vanderlyn (1775-1852)
Christopher Columbus is shown landing in the West Indies, on an island that the Natives called Guanahani and he named San Salvador, on October 12, 1492. He raises the royal banner, claiming the land for his Spanish patrons, and stands bareheaded, with his hat at his feet, in honor of the sacredness of the event. The captains of the Niña and Pinta follow, carrying the banner of Ferdinand and Isabella. The crew displays a range of emotions, some searching for gold in the sand. Natives watch from behind a tree. Painting by John Vanderlyn (1775-1852)

7. Natural Pain Relief: 9 Alternatives to Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen or Aspirin

8. Do You Prefer ‘Native American’ or ‘American Indian’?

9. Theodore Roosevelt: ‘The Only Good Indians Are the Dead Indians’

When Theodore Roosevelt took office in 1901, he already had a long legacy of animosity toward American Indians. “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every 10 are,” Roosevelt said during a January 1886 speech in New York. “And I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

10. Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders

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Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is associate editor at Indian Country Today. He enjoys creating media, technology, computers, comics, and movies. He is a film critic and writes the #NativeNerd column. Twitter @VinceSchilling. TikTok @VinceSchilling. Email: vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com.

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