Sadly, though Nova never states this, the truth cannot be known. To say that this episode “reveals” Pocahontas is to say that by knowing about two different towns that an individual spent time in, one can know the minutiae of what happened in his or her life.
It is not that the uncovering of these two sites isn’t interesting. It is not that hearing that the truth about Pocahontas’s life might be more mundane than novels, films, songs, and other forms of communication might lead us to believe is uninteresting. But, the fact of the matter is that this episode does not reveal anything about Pocahontas that was unknown (save that we may now know the exact site of two towns she lived in).
Nova’s “Pocahontas Revealed” does lay bare some truths about Pocahontas, John Smith, Powhatan, the English settlers, and life in North America in 1607. It does not however, as one might have hoped, reveal terribly much new information, but rather dispels clearly incorrect mythology that has sprung up around her story.
Unquestionably, there is a lot of activity and uncovering of evidence taking place currently at Jamestown and Werowocomoco. I would be very interested to see what exactly a documentary on this same subject might reveal in five or ten years. Hopefully, a decade from now, Nova goes back and updates this piece. Perhaps at that point Pocahontas truly can be revealed.
“Pocahontas Revealed” airs on Nova Tuesday, May 8th, at 8:00 pm, but it’s still always a good idea to check your local listings.