Reporters and Mythmakers: Depicting Virginia Indians
John White was an English artist who in 1585 accompanied a failed colonizing expedition to Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina and who, in 1587, served as governor of a second failed expedition, which came to be known as the Lost Colony. As an artist attached to the first group of colonists, White produced watercolor portraits of Virginia Indians and scenes of their lives and activities.
A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia, by Thomas Hariot, was the first book about North America to be produced by an Englishman who had actually visited the continent. Many of White's paintings were published, sometimes in altered form, by Theodor de Bry as etchings in Hariot's illustrated edition.
This exhibit demonstrates some ways in which primary sources that depict Virginia Indians were altered or manipulated to suit European tastes and purposes. Those sources remain important in helping us to understand the lives of Virginia Indians and how they were seen by Europeans.