What Native American tribe was Pocahontas from?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Pocahontas was a member of the Powhatan group of Native Americans. Her father was the chief of a group of several Native American factions, all of which were united by their Algonquian languages and allied peacefully with one another. This group of Native Americans lived in Tsenacommacah, the name given by the Powhatans to their homeland in Virginia, near Chesapeake Bay. The Powhatans lived in close quarters with several colonists from the Jamestown colony, chiefly Henry Spelman, who served as an interpreter and through whom we know various elements about the life of the Powhatan at the time and their cultural heritage.

It is entirely possible that Pocahontas was not the "real" name of the famous historical figure, known for her brave actions in saving the colonist John Smith from being killed by her father the chief—although it is equally possible that this incident never happened. Pocahontas was also known as Matoaka and Amonute. Later in life, she converted to Christianity and was known as Rebecca.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial