Research Symposium

24th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 3, 2024

Allyson Abarca She/Her Poster Session 4: 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm /304



I am a first year Honors student at FSU born and raised in Miami, Florida. In addition to the Honors Program I am also in the Quest Scholars Program. Through language and literature I first discovered how stories communicate knowledge and connect people. There are a million ways to tell a story, and those are the vehicles through which I understand the world around me and myself. That is why I wish to pursue a career in writing and media.

Florida’s Pocahontas: Evolving Narratives of Milly Francis (1803–1848)

Authors: Allyson Abarca, Dr. Benjamin Gunter
Student Major: Eng;ish: Creative Writing
Mentor: Dr. Benjamin Gunter
Mentor's Department: Communication
Mentor's College: College of Communication and Information


Native Americans do not exist solely in the annals of history likewise our language lives on and evolves and through analysis of said language we can better understand societal attitudes and biases towards Native Americans both past and present. Through focusing on the lives of prominent members of the Red Stick Creek: Milly Francis and her father prophet Josiah Francis (Hillis Hadjo) and the language used in forming their narrative in history we gain insight in the evolving U.S. attitudes on Native Americans. Though Milly was born in Alabama and lived out most of her life in Oklahoma she is best remembered for her actions while living in northwest Florida. Milly Francis went on to be known as a modern “Florida Pocahontas,” after her act of mercy in rescuing a white soldier from execution by her community in 1818 was publicized in newspapers across the United States. Later in the same year on the Wakulla she witnessed the execution of her father at the hands of Andrew Jackson. Analyzing the evolving vocabulary used in relation to the Francis family offers us understanding of the parallel evolving perspectives of the U.S. regarding Native peoples. The sources gathered to assemble the information in the project were found using digital archives and references to books that cover relevant topics.


Keywords: History, Language, Native Americans