Edward Norton was unaware of what lay ahead as he rounded the river bend.

On Tuesday, the 53-year-old actor made an appearance on PBS’s series premiere of “Finding Your Roots” which reveals familial connections for entertainers and public figures. On this special show, he discovered that he is a distant relative of Pocahontas!

Working with the show’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Norton uncovered a startling truth—namely that the legendary Powhatan woman whose life was dramatized by Disney in 1995 is none other than his 12th great-grandmother. Indeed, after digging deep into their family history and examining old records, they were able to confirm this amazing discovery!

“I understand that was family lore,” Gates remarked to Norton, whose kin had long professed that they were related to the legendary Indigenous figure. “Well, it is absolutely true.”

The Golden Globe Award winner could only express shock, muttering “Oh my God” in a video shared by Gates on Twitter.

Born in the Tidewater region of Virginia circa 1596, Pocahontas immediately caught the attention of English settlers upon their arrival to Jamestown. In 1613, they seized her and held her for ransom while forcibly converting her to Christianity and marrying then-tobacco planter John Rolfe a year later.

“John Rolfe and Pocahontas got married on April 5, 1614. Shakespeare dies in 1616, just to put this in perspective,” the genealogist said. “Pocahontas died sometime in March 1617 in Gravesend, England, and John Rolfe died around March 1622.”

In 1616, Pocahontas embarked on a journey to England alongside Rolfe and became acclaimed as an esteemed “princess” of colonization in Europe. Sadly, she passed away the following year due to an inexplicable sickness.

“This makes you realize what a small piece of the human story you are,” Norton said.

It appears that Norton’s ancestry contains an unexpected twist, as Gates disclosed the shocking truth that John Winstead – his third great-grandfather – was a slaveholder. This realization made him feel “uncomfortable,” he added.

“The short answer is these things are uncomfortable, and you should be uncomfortable with them, everybody should be uncomfortable with it,” Norton said. “It’s not a judgment on you and your own life, but it’s a judgment on the history of this country and it needs to be acknowledged first and foremost, and then it needs to be contended with.”

Gates alluded to the fact that Norton had come more thoroughly prepared to discuss his family “than any guest I can recall.”

Throughout the episode, audiences gain insight into Norton’s familial ties to Revolutionaries and Civil War veterans as well as a 19th-century pro-union activist.

“I gotta be honest, one of the things that amaze me is that they were making these kinds of records in that kind of a tumultuous time,” he stated.

Unearth your ancestry and cultural history every Tuesday with “Finding Your Roots” on PBS. You can also stream it online or catch up via the app!