A photo of Martha Graham dancing
About the image

Yousuf Karsh, Martha Graham, 1948 © Yousuf Karsh, Gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh. National Portrait Gallery

Pocahontas: Her Place in the Emerging Atlantic World and Nascent United States

Pocahontas not only lived and died in the maelstrom of the English-Powhatan encounter in the early seventeenth century, but at a singular moment in world history. She participated in the newly emerging Atlantic world and her legacy shaped the United States’ conception of itself for centuries, as well as Europeans’ conception of the early modern Atlantic world. Why and how so? This presentation by National Museum of the American Indian curator Cécile R. Ganteaume explores what we know about Pocahontas and her early impact on European and American thought.

About the Speaker

Cécile R. Ganteaume is an associate curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and formerly at the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, in New York. Ganteaume writes on American Indian art, culture, and history. She is co-curator of the award-winning exhibition Americans, on view at the museum on the National Mall through 2022. Her most recent book, Officially Indian: Symbols That Define the United States, published in fall 2017, is the companion book to Americans. She serves on the curatorial committee of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, and is a recipient of a 2011 Secretary of the Smithsonian’s Excellence in Research Award and a team recipient of the 2018 Smithsonian Excellence in Exhibitions Award.

For further information, please contact NMAI-SSP@si.edu

Photo credit: Pocahontas, unidentified artist, after Simon van de Passe, oil on canvas, after 1616, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, 1942.


Lectures & Discussions, Webcasts & Online


American Indian Museum


American Indian Museum

Event Location

Rasmuson Theater, 1st floor




Free; seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

Related Exhibition



Wheelchair accessible