This essay explores Pocahontas as a polysemic symbol of multiculturalism in the US. Such critique supports decolonizing by illuminating normalizing processes refashioning Indigenous people past and present within masculinized whiteness narratives that dominate the US's current political climate. President Trump's repetition of Pocahontas as slur presents an opportunity to theorize possible ways white supremacist memes invoke colonial myths, inviting intersectional silencing through associatively equating Pocahontas, via synecdoche, with Senator Warren as representative of women in progressive politics. I problematize my standpoint as a white scholar with a matrilineal family narrative linkage to Pocahontas. Indigenous histories, bodies and voices may be variously represented by synecdoche in simultaneously positive and negative ways through polysemy. Exploring her mythic role as peacebuilder and multicultural heroine indicates possibilities for agency of those identified with her within multicultural discourses.
Gorsevski, Ellen W., "Native America Persists: Pocahontas versus Trump" (2018). School of Media and Communication Faculty Publications. 57.
Journal of Multicultural Discourses
Start Page No.
End Page No.