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Events planned to mark Pocahontas' 400th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 16:32 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:32 21 June 2016

Statue of Pocahontas at St George's churchyard

Statue of Pocahontas at St George's churchyard

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The famous Native American was buried in Gravesend in 1617

Talks, education projects and tours are among events planned to mark the 400th anniversary of Pocahontas’ burial in Gravesend.

The Native American chief’s daughter was captured by the English in 1613, married tobacco planter John Rolfe and became a celebrity after travelling to England.

She died in Gravesend in 1617 after boarding a ship back to Virginia, having contracted a serious illness, and was buried in St George’s churchyard.

Gravesham Council launched the events programme yesterday (June 20) on the MV Balmoral, which was moored at the Town Pier Pontoon, at a ceremony hosted by mayor Greta Goatley.

Talks have already been planned on topics such as women and gender at the time of Pocahontas, and Gravesend and Kent at the time of Pocahontas.

There will be Gravesend Heritage riverside tours and visits to St George’s Church led by local historians and guides from summer 2016 onwards.

A new drama about Pocahontas is being created by up-and-coming playwright and Royal Shakespeare Company actor Kieran Knowles, entitled Gravesend.

Plans have also been put in place for a talking statue project, so that visitors to the Pocahontas statue in Gravesend can use smartphone technology to hear her tell her own story.

Lead member for heritage, tourism and young people councillor Jordan Meade said: “We want to give due recognition to Pocahontas’ historic and cultural significance within the economic and religious context of her time. This will all lead into a commemorative service at St George’s Church next year on 21 March 2017.

“We really want to highlight the key events of the months leading up to Pocahontas’ death and to retell Pocahontas’ story to today’s generation.”

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