Pocahontas Exception

This article opens on how laws such as the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 in Virginia, a law put in place to prevent “mongrelization,” did not consider Indian blood as a threat to said “mongrelization.” Essentially, the article goes into how and why this might be, and why it differs from the idea of the mixing and marriage of black and white.

Following many court cases that questioned the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, an expectation was made to the Act that allowed individuals with 1/16th Indian blood to marry a white individual, as well as allowing the child of the two individuals to be considered white. This exception was born from these court cases as well as the marriage between John Rolfe and Pocahontas. This exception would go on to be referred to as the “Pocahontas Exception.”

I found it interesting when the article brought up Vine Deloria and what he noticed in the “grandmother complex” of claiming Indian ancestry. In this, he mentions that those who claimed to him that they were of Indian ancestry made it a point to claim that the ancestor in question was female, not male. This may be because of the differing connotations behind the sterotypical implications of this ancestory. The article mentions that the male Indian ancestor has connotations of a “savage warrior,” whereas the female Indian ancestor has parallels to the story of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. I had never considered that gender may have played a part in these issues previously.

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