The Pocahontas Exception by Kevin Noble Maillard discusses the legal definition of that phrase. First and foremost, I found it interesting that the white people of that time were so interested in maintaining whiteness as separate as possible from other races, except for Pocahontas, which many of them were only too eager to claim lineage to. It feels like they wanted to identify with Native Americans as a way of shielding themselves from criticism or to romanticize Native American Culture. The racial hierarchy is at the forefront of the minds of white people at that time.
The article talks about how individuals with 1/16th native blood are still considered white. This exception was codified because so many white people claimed Native ancestry that they were denied certain rights by the Racial Integrity Act. They added this exception so that the “right” people would not be affected by this bill. I found the article interesting because growing up in this area, I’ve met very clearly white people who claimed that they were Native American with intense seriousness, which I found rather odd.