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My daughter speaks with a wisdom beyond her years. We have all come here with anger in our hearts, but she comes with courage and understanding. From this day forward, if there is to be more killing, it will not start with me.
―Chief Powhatan[src]

Chief Powhatan is Pocahontas' father and a major character in Disney's 1995 animated feature film, Pocahontas.



Chief Powhatan, as his title states, is the chief of the Powhatan tribe. He was once married, but his wife died sometime before the time period of the first film. He has one daughter, Pocahontas. He is initially prejudiced towards the white settlers, but later changes his ways thanks to Pocahontas who convinced him not to go down a path of hatred.

Chief Powhatan appears to be middle-aged; however, he is still a powerful and respected warrior, as he has led his tribe to battle on at least two known occasions. His most distinctive clothing consists of a feathered headdress and a buckskin cape that he later gifts to John Smith. He appears to be a wise leader, though his distrust of the white settlers almost gets the best of him.

Physical appearance

Chief Powhatan is a slender, muscular man, with black mohawked hair, tanned skin, and brown eyes. He wears a feathered headdress, an article of clothing similar to a loincloth, and a buckskin cape and also carries a staff.



Powhatan appears early in the film, having just returned from a successful war campaign against an aggressive tribe. That night, he proclaims a feast in honor of Kocoum, who had distinguished himself as the bravest warrior. Later, he reunites with Pocahontas. Pocahontas relates a dream that she recently had, telling him she believes that it means something exciting will happen. Powhatan reveals to her that Kocoum has asked to marry her. Pocahontas is somewhat reluctant, but Powhatan believes it is the right path for her. He gives Pocahontas a necklace that her mother wore when she married Powhatan and counsels Pocahontas that the people will look up to her as she is the Chief's daughter.

When white settlers appear on the shore, Powhatan orders Kocoum to take some men and observe. After one of the warriors is shot, Powhatan forbids his tribe from going near them (not knowing his daughter has already met one). Powhatan begins making plans to gather his allies, a call-to-arms to prepare for a war against the settlers. Later, Pocahontas, who has met a white man named John Smith, asks her father if he would be willing to speak with a white settler should one wish to. Powhatan finally concedes that he would, but is certain that they would not want to.

When Kocoum is killed, Powhatan orders that John Smith, who is believed to be the murderer, be killed at dawn. He then harshly scolds Pocahontas for disobeying him and leaving the village, and when she tries to explain that Smith was trying to help her, her father accuses her of foolishness and being a traitor and puts the blame of Kocoum's death on her, leaving his daughter in tear-inducing disgrace. Later that night, he and the warriors prepare for a war against the soldiers.

At dawn, Powhatan prepares to execute Smith but is stopped by Pocahontas, who reveals her love for the settler and tells him that he'll have to kill her if he kills John. Pocahontas refuses to stand aside and then scolds everyone for following a path of hatred and tells her father what would his path be if he choose to fight out of hatred. Powhatan looks to his warriors and the settlers preparing to attack each other, realizing that he will be responsible for the death of many more people, including his own, if he goes through with the execution. Seeing the wisdom in his daughter's words, he then spares Smith, and both sides lower their weapons. However, Governor Ratcliffe, the leader of the settlers rejects the offer, attempts to kill Powhatan, as he believes the Indians to be hiding gold. John steps in the way, saving Powhatan's life. Powhatan is seen stooping to care for the injured Smith.

Later, as Smith is preparing to return to England for medical treatment, Powhatan comes to see him off. Powhatan thanks John for saving him, giving Smith his own cape as a gift. Powhatan also tells Smith that he is welcome among the tribe.

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

John Rolfe is tasked with bringing the "Indian Chief" to England for negotiations to avoid war between the tribe and England. However, a misunderstanding leads Rolfe to believe that Pocahontas, rather than Powhatan is the chief. After learning his mistake, Powhatan is asked to accompany Rolfe back to England. Powhatan stubbornly refuses, and so Pocahontas is sent in his stead. Before Pocahontas leaves, Powhatan appoints a warrior named Uttamatomakkin as a bodyguard to Pocahontas during the voyage.


  • According to history, this Pamunkey chief had many wives and children. All of his children were half-siblings and not two were, it is believed, full siblings. He would marry many at once in different stages of pregnancy. He would keep a wife until she bore him a child. When this was accomplished that wife and her child would be sent back to her own people. Later on, the child would be sent back to Powhatan's court and that woman would no longer be the chief's wife. She was then free to remarry.
  • He had a half-brother or younger brother named Opechancanough who succeeded him after his death in 1618. Opechancanough led an attack on Jamestown four years later because he felt his tribe was threatened by the growing size of the settlement. John Rolfe, who was then married to his third wife Jane Pierce, was possibly one of Opechancanough's victims. 
  • Ratcliffe's attempted murder of Powhatan was foreshadowed by Kekata, in which a wolf-shaped smoke representing the settlers tried to fly towards Powhatan, but it's blocked by him.


v - e - d
Pocahontas logo.png
Films: PocahontasPocahontas II: Journey to a New WorldVideo

Video games: PocahontasDisney Emoji Blitz
Music: Original SoundtrackSongs from Disney's Pocahontas II: Journey to a New WorldThe Legacy Collection
Books: Marvel ComicsDisney Princess Beginnings

Disney Parks
Castle of Magical DreamsDisney Animation BuildingIt's a Small WorldPocahontas Indian VillageSorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Entertainment: Disney's BelieveFantasmic!Feel the MagicFestival of Family & FriendsFollow Your DreamsHakuna Matata Time Dance PartyMickey and the Magical MapPocahontas and her Forest FriendsPocahontas SpectacularRivers of Light: We Are OneThe Forest of Enchantment: A Disney Musical AdventureThe Golden MickeysThe Spirit of Pocahontas
Parade: Disney's Magical Moments ParadeDisney Adventure Friends CavalcadeJubilation!Main Street Electrical Parade
Firework: Disney EnchantmentCelebrate! Tokyo DisneylandILLUMINATE! A Nighttime CelebrationMomentousTree of Life AwakensWorld of Color
Summer: Stitch and Friends Summer Surprise
Halloween: Are You Brave Enough?Frightfully Fun ParadeThe Disney Villains Halloween Showtime

Original: PocahontasJohn SmithGovernor RatcliffeThomasMeekoFlitPercyWigginsGrandmother WillowChief PowhatanNakomaKocoumKekataBen and Lon

Sequel: John RolfeKing JamesQueen AnneMrs. JenkinsUttamatomakkinJesters
Deleted: Redfeather

Original: The Virginia CompanySteady as the Beating DrumJust Around the RiverbendListen With Your HeartMine, Mine, MineColors of the WindSavagesIf I Never Knew You

Sequel: Where Do I Go from Here?What a Day in LondonWait 'Till He Sees YouThings Are Not What They AppearBetween Two Worlds
Deleted: Different DrummerFirst To DanceIn the Middle of the RiverDancing to the Wedding Drum