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Monique Mojica, Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots (1991)

Robin Pertusi

Smith bedamned! It is Pocahontas who needs rescuing, who is rescued, and who gives rescue in this re-enactment by Kuna-Rappahannock Mojica, an authentic blue spot. To whites, Pocahontas is a model of integration and assimilation, an object of desire -- America's sweetheart. But to her Native descendants, foremother Pocahontas is traitor, betrayer, whore -- an object of shame. Mojica is healer -- her mission 1) resistance to white history; 2) retrieval, recovery, reclamation, recuperation, rehabilitation, and regeneration of Native American history; and 3) restoring, realigning, and rebuilding a dynamic genealogy for a contemporary generation of cultural orphans symbolized by the play's Lady Rebecca, who, literally "girdled" in a picture frame, has "no way home" and whose "heart is on the ground." Through the doo-wopping "Princess Buttered-on-Both-Sides" ("Be my muffin, I'll be your marmalade") and the balladeering "Storybook Princess" ("They placed his head upon a stone, / and raised their tomahawks high-O"), then, Mojica's characters savagely mock the central event in the white origin myth. Storybook's "No! Don't! Stop! Oooh!" -- glossed by the choric absurdity of "Heigh-ho wiggle-waggle / wigwam wampum" -- render the cultural validity of the simple-minded "little Indian Princess" moot. Derision and laughter deconstruct three hundred years of white romance. But if neither silly Storybook nor tragic Rebecca is available for therapeutic purposes, what's left? The climactic "character" of the shape-shifting Pocahontas of the play is Matoaka -- her personal, private, most intimate Indian self. And the climactic image of her is relishing her puberty ceremony. Inverting chronology, Mojica leaves her audience with an eager, excited, young Matoaka on the threshold of new maturity, embracing her approaching womanhood, with a fresh motherhood still in front of her. "It's time for the women to pick up their medicine in order for the people to continue," quotes Contemporary Woman #1. Mojica is a "word warrior," and her play ends with a "call to arms." Matoaka's heart is not on the ground.