Slavery among Native Americans in the United States

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Slavery among Native Americans in the United States includes slavery by Native Americans as well as slavery of Native Americans roughly within the present-day United States. Tribal territories and the slave trade ranged over present-day borders. Some Native American tribes held war captives as slaves prior to and during European colonization, some Native Americans were captured and sold by others into slavery to Europeans, and a small number of tribes, in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, adopted the practice of holding slaves as chattel property and held increasing numbers of African-American slaves.

Pre-contact forms of slavery were generally distinct from the form of chattel slavery developed by Europeans in North America during the colonial period.[1] European influence greatly changed slavery used by Native Americans. As they raided other tribes to capture slaves for sales to Europeans, they fell into destructive wars among themselves, and against Europeans.[1]

Native American slavery

Traditions of Native American slavery

Many Native American tribes practiced some form of slavery before the European introduction of African slavery into North America.[1]

Native American groups often enslaved war captives whom they primarily used for small-scale labor.[1] Others however, were used in ritual sacrifice,[1] usually involving torture as part of religious rites, and these sometimes involved ritual cannibalism.[2]

There were several differences between slavery as practiced in the pre-colonial era among Native Americans and slavery as practiced by Europeans after colonization. Whereas Europeans eventually came to look upon slaves of African descent as being racially inferior, Native Americans took slaves from other Native American groups, and therefore did not have the same racial ideology for their slavery. Native slaves could be looked down upon as ethnically inferior, however.[1] Another difference was that Native Americans did not buy and sell captives in the pre-colonial era, although they sometimes exchanged enslaved individuals with other tribes in peace gestures or in exchange for redeeming their own members.[1] In some cases, Native American slaves were allowed to live on the fringes of Native American society until they were slowly integrated into the tribe.[1] The word "slave" may not accurately apply to such captive people.[1]

The ways in which captives were treated differed widely between Native American groups. Captives could be enslaved for life, killed, or adopted. In some cases, captives were only adopted after a period of slavery. For example, the Iroquoian peoples (not just the Iroquois tribes) often adopted captives, but for religious reasons, there was a process, procedures and many seasons when such adoptions were delayed until the proper spiritual times.

In many cases, new tribes adopted captives to replace warriors killed during a raid.[1] Warrior captives were sometimes made to undergo ritual mutilation or torture that could end in death as part of a spiritual grief ritual for relatives slain in battle.[1] Adoptees, ironically were expected to fill the economic, military and familial roles of the departed loved one; to fit societal shoes of the dead relative and maintain the spirit power of the tribe.

Some Native Americans would cut off one foot of captives to keep them from running away. Others allowed enslaved male captives to marry the widows of slain husbands.[1] The Creek, who engaged in this practice and had a matrilineal system, treated children born of slaves and Creek women as full members of their mothers' clans and of the tribe, as property and hereditary leadership passed through the maternal line. The children did not have slave status.[1] Cultural practices of the Iroquoian peoples, also rooted in a matrilineal system with men and women having equal value, any child would have the status determined by the woman's clan. More typically, tribes took women and children captives for adoption, as they tended to adapt more easily into new ways.

Several tribes held captives as hostages for payment.[1] Various tribes also practiced debt slavery or imposed slavery on tribal members who had committed crimes; full tribal status would be restored as the enslaved worked off their obligations to the tribal society.[1] Other slave-owning tribes of North America included Comanche of Texas, the Creek of Georgia; the fishing societies, such as the Yurok, who lived in Northern California; the Pawnee, and the Klamath.[3]

When the Europeans made contact with the Native Americans, they began to participate in the slave trade.[4] Native Americans, in their initial encounters with the Europeans, attempted to use their captives from enemy tribes as a “method of playing one tribe against another” in an unsuccessful game of divide and conquer.[4]

The Haida and Tlingit who lived along southeast Alaska's coast were traditionally known as fierce warriors and slave-traders, raiding as far as California.[5][better source needed][6] In their society, slavery was hereditary after slaves were taken as prisoners of war.[5][6] Among some Pacific Northwest tribes, as many as one-fourth of the population were slaves.[5][6]

European enslavement of Native Americans

Native Americans enslaved by Spaniards, published in 1596.

The exact number of Native Americans who were enslaved is unknown because vital statistics and census reports were infrequent or lacking.[1][7] Andrés Reséndez estimates that between 147,000 and 340,000 Native Americans were enslaved in North America, excluding Mexico.[8] Linford Fisher's estimates 2.5 million to 5.5 million Natives enslaved in the entire Americas.[9] Even though records became more reliable in the later colonial period records of Native American slaves received little to no mention or they were classed with African slaves with no distinction.[7] For example, the case of "Sarah Chauqum of Rhode Island" her master listed her as mulatto in the bill of sale to Edward Robinson, but she won her freedom by asserting her Narragansett identity.[10]

Little is known about Native Americans that were forced into labor.[10] Two myths have complicated the history of Native American slavery; that Native Americans were undesirable as servants and that Native Americans were exterminated or pushed out after King Philip's War.[10] The precise legal status for some Native Americans is difficult to establish in some occasions as involuntary servitude and slavery were poorly defined in the 17th century British America.[10] Some masters asserted ownership over the children of Native American servants, seeking to turn them into slaves.[10] The historical uniqueness of slavery in America is that European settlers drew a rigid line between insiders "people like themselves who could never be enslaved" and nonwhite outsiders "mostly Africans and Native Americans who could be enslaved".[10] A unique feature between natives and colonists was that colonists gradually asserted sovereignty over the native inhabitants during the seventeenth century, ironically transforming them into subjects with collective rights and privileges that Africans could not enjoy.[10] The West Indies developed as plantation societies prior to the Chesapeake Bay region and had a demand for labor.

In the Spanish colonies, the church assigned Spanish surnames to Native Americans and recorded them as servants rather than slaves.[11] Many members of Native American tribes in the West were taken against their will for life as slaves.[11] In some cases, courts served as conduits for enslavement of Indians, as evidenced by the enslavement of the Hopi man Juan Suñi in 1659 by a court in Santa Fe for theft of food and trinkets in the governor's mansion.[12] In the East, Native Americans were recorded as slaves.[13]

Slaves in Indian Territory across the United States were used for many purposes, from work in the plantations of the East, to guides across the wilderness, to work in deserts of the West, or as soldiers in wars. Native American slaves suffered from European diseases and inhumane treatment, and many died while in captivity.[13]

The Indian slave trade

Statue representing Sacagawea (ca. 1788–1812), a Lemhi Shoshone who was taken captive by the Hidatsa people and sold to Toussaint Charbonneau[14]

European colonists caused a change in Native American slavery, as they created a new demand market for captives of raids.[1][15] Especially in the southern colonies, initially developed for resource exploitation rather than settlement, colonists purchased or captured Native Americans to be used as forced labor in cultivating tobacco, and, by the eighteenth century, rice, and indigo.[1] To acquire trade goods, Native Americans began selling war captives to whites rather than integrating them into their own societies.[1][16] Traded goods varied among the tribes such as axes, bronze kettles, Caribbean rum, European jewelry, needles, scissors, but the most prized were rifles.[16] The English copied the Spanish and Portuguese: they saw the enslavement of Africans and Native Americans as a moral, legal, and socially acceptable institution; a rationale for enslavement was "just war" taking captives and using slavery as an alternative to a death sentence.[17] The escape of Native American slaves was frequent, because they had a better understanding of the land; whereas the African slaves did not. Consequently, the Natives who were captured and sold into slavery were often sent to the West Indies, or far away from their home.[15] The first African slave on record was placed in Jamestown, before the 1630s indentured servitude was dominant form of bondage in the colonies however by 1636 only Caucasians could lawfully receive contracts as indentured servants.[18] The oldest record obtained of a permanent Native American slave, was a native man from Massachusetts in 1636.[18] By 1661 slavery had become legal in all of the 13 colonies.[18] Virginia would later declare that "Indians, Mulattos, and Negros to be real estate", and in 1682 New York forbade African or Native American slaves from leaving their master's home or plantation without permission.[18] Europeans also viewed the enslavement of Native Americans differently than the enslavement of Africans in some cases; a belief that Africans were "brutish people" was dominant. While both Native Americans and Africans were considered savages, Native Americans were romanticized as noble people that could be elevated into Christian civilization.[17]

New England

The massacre of the Pequot resulted in the enslavement of some of the survivors by English colonists.

The dawning of the Pequot War of 1636 led to war captives and members of the Pequot tribe to be enslaved by Europeans almost immediately after the founding of Connecticut as a European colony, and the Pequot becoming an important part of New England's culture of slavery.[7][10] The Pequot war was devastating, the Niantic, Narragansett, and Mohegan tribes were persuaded into helping the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Plymouth colonies massacre the Pequot with at least 700 of the Pequot killed. The majority enslaved Pequot were noncombatant women and children with court records indicating that most served as chattel slaves for life, some court records show bounties on runaway native slaves more than 10 years after the war.[10] What further aided the Indian slave trade throughout New England and the South was different tribes didn't recognize themselves as the same race dividing the tribes among each other.[16] The Chickasaw and Westos for example sold captives of other tribes indiscriminately in effort to augment their political and economic power.[16]

Furthermore, Rhode Island also participated in the enslavement of Native Americans but records are incomplete or non-existent making the exact number of slaves unknown.[7] The New England governments would promise plunder as part of their payment, commanders like Israel Stoughton viewed the rights to claim Native American women and children as part of their due.[10] Due to lack of evidence it can only be speculated if the soldiers demanded these captives as sexual slaves or solely as servants.[10] Few colonial leaders questioned the policies of the colonies treatment of slaves but Roger Williams who tried to maintain positive connections with the Narragansett was conflicted; as a Christian he felt identifiable Indian murderers "deserved death" and condemned the murder of Native American women and children though most of his criticisms were kept private.[10] Massachusetts originally kept peace with the Native American tribes in the region however that changed and the enslavement of Native Americans became inevitable with Boston newspapers mentioning escaped slaves as late as 1750.[7] In 1790 the United States census report indicated that the number of slaves in the state was 6,001, with an unknown amount as Native American but at least 200 cited as half breed Indians (meaning half African).[7] Since Massachusetts took the advance in the fighting of the two Indian wars it is most likely that colony greatly exceeded that of either Connecticut or Rhode Island.[7] New Hampshire was unique maintaining a slightly peaceful stance with various tribes during the Pequot war and King Philip's War having very few slaves.[7] Colonists in the South began to capture and enslave Native Americans for sale and export to the "sugar islands," as well as to northern colonies.[1] The resulting Native American slave trade devastated the southeastern Native American populations and transformed tribal relations throughout the Southeast.[1] In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the English at Charles Town (South Carolina), the Spanish in Florida, and the French in Louisiana sought trading partners and allies among the Native Americans by offering trade goods such as metal knives and axes, firearms and ammunition, liquor and beads, and cloth and hats in exchange for furs (deerskins) and Native American slaves.[1]

Traders, frontier settlers, and government officials encouraged Native Americans to make war on other tribes to reap the profits of the slaves captured in such raids or to weaken the warring tribes.[1] Starting in 1610, the Dutch traders had developed a lucrative trade with the Iroquois.[16] The Iroquois gave the Dutch beaver pelts in exchange the Dutch gave them clothing, tools, and firearms which boosted their power above other neighboring tribes.[16] The trade allowed the Iroquois to have war campaigns against other tribes like the Huron, Petun, Susquehannocks, Eries, and the Shawnee.[16] The Iroquois also began to take war captives and sell them.[16] The gained power of the Iroquois and old world epidemic diseases devastated many eastern tribes.[16]

American Southeast

The Carolinas were unique compared to the other colonies in that the colonists thought of slavery as essential to economic success.[17][19] In 1680, proprietors ordered Carolina government to ensure Native Americans enslaved had equal justice and to treat them better than African slaves publishing these regulations widely so no one could claim ignorance.[17] The change in policy in Carolina was rooted in fear that escaped slaves would inform their tribes resulting in even more devastating attacks on plantations, which would prove expensive and bring unwanted attention from British rule.[17] The attempted change in policy proved nearly impossible to uphold as the viewpoints of colonists and local officials viewed Native Americans and Africans as the same and the exploitation of both as the easiest way to wealth; though the proprietors continued to attempt to enforce the changes for profit reasons.[17]

In the other colonies slavery developed into a predominant form of labor over time.[19] It is estimated that Carolina traders operating out of Charles Town shipped an estimated 30,000 to 51,000 Native American captives between 1670 and 1715 in a profitable slave trade with the Caribbean, Spanish Hispaniola, and Northern colonies.[1][20] It was more profitable to have Native American slaves because African slaves had to be shipped and purchased while native slaves could be captured and immediately taken to plantations; whites in the Northern colonies sometimes preferred Native American slaves especially Native women and children, to Africans.[1] However, Carolinians had more of a preference for African slaves but also capitalized on the Indian slave trade combining both.[19] In December 1675 Carolina's grand council had a written justification of the approved enslavement and sale of Native Americans, claiming those whom were enemies of tribes the English had befriended were targets stating those enslaved were not "innocent Indians".[17] The council also claimed it was within the wishes of their "Indian allies" to take their prisoners and that the prisoners were willing to work in the country or be transported elsewhere.[17] The council used this to please the proprietors, to fulfill the custom of enslaving no one against their wishes or be transported without his own consent out of Carolina though this is what the colonists did.[17]

In John Norris' "Profitable Advice for Rich and Poor (1712)" he recommended buying eighteen native women, fifteen African men, and three African women.[19] Slave traders preferred captive Native Americans who were under eighteen years old, as they were believed to be more easily trained to new work.[11] In the Illinois Country, French colonists baptized as Catholics Native American slaves whom they bought for labor.[11] They believed it essential to convert Native Americans to the Catholic faith.[11] Church baptismal records have thousands of entries for Indian slaves.[1][11] In the eastern colonies it became common practice to enslave Native American women and African men with a parallel growth of enslavement for both Africans and Native Americans.[19] This practice also lead to large number of unions between Africans and Native Americans.[21] This practice of combining African slave men and Native American women was especially common in South Carolina.[19] Native American women were cheaper to buy than Native American men or Africans, moreover it was more efficient to have native women because they were skilled laborers being the primary agriculturalist in their communities.[19] During this era it wasn't uncommon for rewards notices in colonial newspapers to mention runaway slaves speaking of Africans, Native Americans, and those of a partial mix between them.[18]

Many early laborers, including from Africa, entered the colonies as indentured servants and could be free after paying off passage. Slavery was associated with people who were non-Christian and non-European. In a Virginia General Assembly declaration of 1705, some terms were defined:[22][non-primary source needed]

And also be in [sic.] enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That all servants imported and brought into the Country... who were not christians in their native country, (except... Turks and Moors in amity with her majesty, and others that can make due proof of their being free in England, or any other christian country, before they were shipped...) shall be accounted and be slaves, and such be here bought and sold notwithstanding a conversion to christianity afterward. [Section IV.]

And if any slave resists his master, or owner, or other person, by his or her order, correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction, it shall not be accounted felony; but the master, owner, and every such other person so giving correction, shall be free and acquit of all punishment and accusation for the same, as if such incident had never happened... [Section XXXIV.][22][23]

In the mid-18th century, South Carolina colonial governor James Glen began to promote an official policy that aimed to create in Native Americans an "aversion" to African Americans in an attempt to thwart possible alliances between them.[24][25] In 1758, James Glen wrote: "It has always been the policy of this government to create an aversion in them Indians to Negroes."[26]

The dominance of the Native American slave trade lasted only until around 1730, when it led to a series of devastating wars among the tribes.[1] The slave trade created tensions that were not present among different tribes and even large scale abandonment of original homelands to escape the wars and slave trade.[19] The majority of the Indian wars occurred in the south.[27] The Westos originally lived near Lake Erie in the 1640s but relocated to escape the Indian slave trade and Iroquois mourning wars; wars designed to repopulate their tribe due to European enslavement and large number of deaths due to wars and disease.[19] The Westos eventually moved to Virginia and then South Carolina to take advantage of trading routes.[19] The Westos strongly contributed to the rising involvement of southeastern Native American communities in the Indian slave trade especially with Westos expansion.[19] The increased rise of the gun-slave trade forced the other tribes to participate or their refusal to engage in enslaving meant they would become targets of slavers.[19] Before 1700, the Westos in Carolina dominated much of the Native American slave trade, enslaving natives of southern tribes indiscriminately.[1][16] The Westos gained power rapidly but the British and plantation owners began to fear them as they were well-armed with a lot of rifle power through trading; unremorsefully from 1680 to 1682 the English, allied with the Savannah who resented Westo control of the trade wiped them out killing most of the men and selling most of the women and children that could be captured.[1][16] As a result, the Westo tribal group was completely eliminated culturally; its survivors were scattered or else sold into slavery in Antigua.[1] Those Native Americans nearer the European settlements raided tribes farther into the interior in the quest for slaves to be sold, especially to the British.[1][19]

In response, the southeastern tribes intensified their warring and hunting, which increasingly challenged their traditional reasons for hunting or warring.[16][19] The traditional reasoning for war was revenge not for profit.[19] The Chickasaw war parties had pushed the Houmas tribe further south where the tribe struggled to find stability.[16] In 1704, the Chickasaw alliance with the French had weakened and the British used the opportunity to make an alliance with the Chickasaw bringing them 12 Taensa slaves.[16] In Mississippi and Tennessee the Chickasaw played both the French and British against each other, and preyed on the Choctaw, who were traditional allies of the French, as well as the Arkansas, the Tunica, and the Taensa, establishing slave depots throughout their territories.[1] In 1705, the Chickasaw activated their war parties again targeting the unexpected Choctaw since a friendship had been established between the two tribes; several Choctaw families were taken into captivity rekindling a war between the two tribes and ending their allegiance.[16] A single Chickasaw raid in 1706 on the Choctaw yielded 300 Native American captives for the English.[1] The warring between them continued through the early 18th century with the worse incident for the Choctaw occurring in 1711 as the British also attacked the Choctaw simultaneously fearing them more because of they were allies to the French.[16] It is estimated that this warring mixed with enslavement and epidemics devastated the Chickasaw, it is estimated that in 1685 their population was 7,000 plus but by 1715 it was as low as 4,000.[16] As the southern tribes continued their involvement in slave trade they became more involved economically and began to amass significant debts.[19] The Yamasee amassed a great debt in 1711 for rum, but the General Assembly had voted to forgive their debts, but the tribe replied by stating they were preparing for war to pay their debts.[19] The Indian slave trade began to negatively affect the social organization in many of the southern tribes particularly in gender roles in their communities.[19] As male warriors began to interact more with colonial men and societies which were heavily patriarchal they began to increasingly sought out control over captives to trade with European men.[19] Among the Cherokee the undermining of women's power began to create tensions among their communities e.g. warriors started to undermine women's power to determine when to wage war.[19] In the Cherokee and other tribes' societies "war women" and "beloved women" were those who had proven themselves in battle, and were respected with vested privileges to decide what to do with captives.[19][28] The incidents led warring women to dress as traders in effort to get captives before warriors.[19] A similar pattern of friendly and then hostile relations among the English and Native Americans followed in the southeastern colonies.[1]

For example, the Creek, a loose confederacy of many different groups who had banded together to defend themselves against slave-raiding, allied with the English and moved on the Apalachee in Spanish Florida, destroying them as a group of people in the quest for slaves.[1] These raids also destroyed several other Florida tribes, including the Timucua.[1] In 1685, the Yamasee were persuaded by Scottish slave traders to attack the Timucuans, the attack was devastating.[16] Most of the colonial-era Native Americans of Florida were killed, enslaved, or scattered.[1] It is estimated that English-Creek raids on Florida yielded 4,000 Native American slaves between 1700 and 1705.[1] A few years later, the Shawnee raided the Cherokee in similar fashion.[1] In North Carolina, the Tuscarora, fearing among other things that the English planned to enslave them as well as take their land, attacked the English in a war that lasted from 1711 to 1713.[1] In this war, Carolina whites, aided by the Yamasee, completely vanquished the Tuscarora, taking thousands of captives as slaves.[1] Within a few years, a similar fate befell the Yuchis and the Yamasee, who had fallen out of favor with the British.[1] The French armed the Natchez tribe, who lived on the banks of the Mississippi, and the Illinois against the Chickasaw.[1] By 1729, the Natchez, along with a number of enslaved and runaway Africans who lived among them, rose up against the French. An army composed of French soldiers, Choctaw warriors, and enslaved Africans defeated them.[1] Trade behavior of several tribes also began to change returning to more traditional ways of adopting war captives instead of immediately selling them to white slave traders or holding them for three days before deciding to sell them or not.[16] This was due to the heavy losses many of the tribes were obtaining in the numerous wars that continued throughout the 18th century.[16]

The lethal combination of slavery, disease, and warfare dramatically decreased the free southern Native American populations; it is estimated that the southern tribes numbered around 199,400 in 1685 but decreased to 90,100 in 1715.[16][19] The Indian wars of the early 18th century, combined with the growing availability of African slaves, essentially ended the Native American slave trade by 1750.[1] Numerous colonial slave traders had been killed in the fighting, and the remaining Native American groups banded together, more determined to face the Europeans from a position of strength rather than be enslaved.[1][19] Though the Indian slave trade ended the practice of enslaving Native Americans continued, records from June 28, 1771 show Native American children were kept as slaves in Long Island, New York.[7] Native Americans had also married while enslaved creating families both native and some of partial African descent.[18] Occasional mentioning of Native American slaves running away, being bought, or sold along with Africans in newspapers is found throughout the later colonial period.[7][19] Many of the Native American remnant tribes joined confederacies such as the Choctaw, the Creek, and the Catawba for protection, making them less easy victims of European slavers.[1][19] There are also many accounts of former slaves mentioning having a parent or grandparent who was Native American or of partial descent.[21]

Records and slave narratives obtained by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) clearly indicate that the enslavement of Native Americans continued in the 1800s mostly through kidnappings.[21] One example is a documented WPA interview from a former slave Dennis Grant whose mother was full blood Native American.[21] She was kidnapped as a child near Beaumont, Texas in the 1850s, and made a slave later becoming a forced wife of a slave.[21] The abductions showed that even in the 1800s little distinction was still made between African Americans and Native Americans.[21] Both Native American and African-American slaves were at risk of sexual abuse by slaveholders and other white men of power.[29][30] The pressures of slavery also gave way to the creation of colonies of runaway slaves and Native Americans living in Florida called Maroons.[31]

Slavery in Southwest

Slavery of Native Americans was organized in colonial and Mexican California through Franciscan missions, theoretically entitled to ten years of Native labor, but in practice maintaining them in perpetual servitude, until their charge was revoked in the mid-1830s. Spanish colonists and Native Americans sold or traded slaves at many of the trade fairs along the Rio Grande.[1] Following the 1847–1848 invasion by U.S. troops, Native Californians were enslaved in the new state from statehood in 1850 to 1867.[32] Slavery required the posting of a bond by the slave holder and enslavement occurred through raids and a four-month servitude imposed as a punishment for Indian "vagrancy".[33]

African chattel slavery by Native Americans in the American Southeast

L to R: Mrs. Amos Chapman, her daughter, sister (all Cheyenne), and an unidentified girl of African-American descent. 1886[34]

Some Native American tribes owned slaves.  The Five Civilized Tribes implemented some of these practices which they have seen as beneficial; they were working to get along with the Americans to keep their territory. These 5 nations made the largest efforts of all the Native American peoples to assimilate into white society adoption of slavery was one of them.[35] They were the most receptive to whites pressures to adopt European cultures.  The pressures from European Americans to assimilate, the economic shift of furs and deerskins, and the government's continued attempts to civilize native tribes in the south led to them adopting an economy based on agriculture.[36]  Slavery itself was not a new concept to indigenous American peoples as in inter-Native American conflict tribes often kept prisoners of war, but these captures often replaced slain tribe members.[37]  Native American “versions” of slavery prior to European contact came nowhere close to fitting the European definition of slavery as Native Americans did not originally distinguish between groups of people based on color, but rather traditions.[38]  There are conflicting theories as to what caused the shift between traditional Native American servitude to the oppressive racialized enslavement the Five Civilized tribes adopted.  One theory is the civilized tribes adopted slavery as means to defend themselves from federal pressure believing that it would help them maintain their southern lands.[35]  Another narrative postulates that Native Americans began to feed into the European belief that Africans were somehow inferior to whites and themselves.[39]  Some indigenous nations such as the Chickasaws and the Choctaws began to embrace the concept that African bodies were property, and equated blackness to hereditary inferiority.[40]  In either case “The system of racial classification and hierarchy took shape as Europeans and Euro-Americans sought to subordinate and exploit Native Americans' and Africans' land, bodies, and labor.[38]  Whether strategically or racially motivated the slave trade promoted African slaves owned by Native Americans which led to new power relations among Native societies, elevating groups such as the Five Civilized Tribes to power and serving, ironically, to preserve native order.[41] Interestingly, these same missionaries reported that Native American slave owners were brutal and indulgent masters, even though accounts of Indian freedmen gave different accounts of being treated relatively well without tyrannical treatment.[42] The earliest record of African and Native American contact occurred in April 1502, when Spanish explorers brought an African slave with them and encountered a band.[43][better source needed] Thereafter, Native Americans interacted with enslaved Africans and African Americans in every way possible; in the early colonial days, Native Americans were enslaved along with Africans, and both often worked with European indentured laborers.[1][18][7][44] "They worked together, lived together in communal quarters, produced collective recipes for food, shared herbal remedies, myths and legends, and in the end they intermarried."[18][45] Because both races were non-Christian, Europeans considered them other and inferior to Europeans. They worked to make enemies of the two groups. In some areas, Native Americans began to slowly absorb white culture.[1]

Slavery in the Indian Territory

In the 1830s, all of the Five Civilized Tribes were relocated, many of them forcibly to the Indian Territory (later, the state of Oklahoma). The incident is known as the Trail of Tears, and the institution of owning enslaved Africans came with them. Of the estimated 4,500 to 5,000 blacks who formed the slave class in the Indian Territory by 1839, the great majority were in the possession of the mixed bloods.[35] 

Other responses to African chattel slavery by Native Americans

Tensions varied between African American and Native Americans in the south, as each nation dealt with the ideology behind enslavement of Africans differently.[36] In the late 1700s and 1800s, some Native American nations gave sanctuary to runaway slaves while others were more likely to capture them and return them to their white masters or even re-enslave them.[39]  Still others incorporated runaway slaves into their societies, sometimes resulting in intermarriage between the Africans and the Native American, which was a common place among the Creek and Seminole.[42][38] Although, some Native Americans may have had a strong dislike of slavery, because they too were seen as a people of a subordinate race than white men of European descent, they lacked the political power to influence the racialistic culture that pervaded the Non-Indian South.[38] It is unclear if some Native American slaveholders sympathized with African American slaves as fellow people of color, class more than race may be a more useful prism through which to view masters of color.[35] Missionary work was an efficient method the United States used to persuade Native Americans to accept European methods of living. Missionaries vociferously denounced Indian removal as cruel, oppressive, and feared such actions would push Native Americans away from converting.[46] Interestingly, these same missionaries reported that Native American slave owners were brutal masters, even though accounts of Indian freedmen gave different accounts of being treated relatively well without tyrannical treatment.[42]  

American Civil War

Traditionalist groups, such as Pin Indians and the intertribal Four Mothers Society, were outspoken opponents of slavery during the Civil War.[47] The Five Civilized Tribes allied with the Confederates during the American Civil War, in part because they resented the US government's having forced them out of the Southeast.[citation needed] The Confederates suggested they might establish a Native American-controlled state if victorious, but it had been their settlers that had earlier pushed for the removal of the Native Americans from the Southeast.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax Seybert, Tony (4 Aug 2004). "Slavery and Native Americans in British North America and the United States: 1600 to 1865". Slavery in America. Archived from the original on 4 August 2004. Retrieved 14 June 2011.  As of 2006, Tony Seybert had described himself as having submitted a master's thesis to the history department at California State University, Northridge.
  2. ^ "Picnic with cannibals: Wisconsin's Aztalan State Park was home to mysterious, ancient city whose residents ate their enemies". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "Slavery in America". Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Bailey, L.R. (1966). "Indian Slave Trade in the Southwest". Los Angeles, CA: Westernlore Press. 
  5. ^ a b c Mintz, S. (2007) [2003]. "African American Voices: Slavery in Historical Perspective". Digital History. Archived from the original on August 21, 2003. Retrieved March 8, 2017 – via [better source needed]
  6. ^ a b c MacDonald, George F. (2017) [1996]. "Warfare". Haida: Children of the Eagle. Gatineau, QC, CAN: Government of Canada, Canadian Museum of History. Retrieved March 8, 2017 – via  Based on MacDonald, George F. (1996). Haida Art. Vancouver, BC, CAN: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 029597561X. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lauber (1913), "The Number of Indian Slaves" [Ch. IV], in Indian Slavery, pp. 105-117.
  8. ^ Reséndez, Andrés (2016). The other slavery: The uncovered story of Indian enslavement in America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 324. ISBN 978-0-544-94710-8. 
  9. ^ "Colonial enslavement of Native Americans included those who surrendered, too" (Press release). Brown University. February 15, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Newell, Margaret Ellen (2009). "Indian Slavery in Colonial New England". In Gallay, Alan. Indian Slavery in Colonial America. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 33–66. Retrieved March 8, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Ekberg, Carl J. (2007). Stealing Indian Women: Native Slavery in the Illinois Country. Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press. 
  12. ^ Daughters, Anton. "'Grave Offenses Worthy of Great Punishment': The Enslavement of Juan Suñi, 1659." Journal of the Southwest 54:3 pp.437-452 (Autumn 2012)
  13. ^ a b Schneider, Dorothy; Schneider, Carl J. (2007). "Enslavement of American Indians by Whites". Slavery in America, American Experience. New York: Facts On File. 
  14. ^ "Sacajawea." Shoshone Indians. (retrieved 1 Nov 2011)[dead link]
  15. ^ a b Gallay, Alan (2009). "Introduction: Indian Slavery in Historical Context". In Gallay, Alan. Indian Slavery in Colonial America. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 1–32. Retrieved March 8, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Snyder (2010), "Indian Slave Trade" [Ch. 2], in Slavery, pp. 46-79.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gallay, Alan (2009). "South Carolina's Entrance into the Indian Slave Trade". In Gallay, Alan. Indian Slavery in Colonial America. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 109–146. Retrieved March 8, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h Katz, William Loren (1996). "Their Mixing is to be Prevented". Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage. Atheneum Books For Young Readers. pp. 109–125. 
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  20. ^ Krauthamer (2013), "Black Slaves, Indian Masters" [Ch. 1], in Black Slaves, pp. 17–45.
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  22. ^ a b Virginia General Assembly (2012) [1705]. "An Act Concerning Servants and Slaves (1705) [Sections IV. and XXXIV., Transcription From Original]". In Gibson, Matthew. Encyclopedia Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Retrieved March 8, 2017.  Cited is a digital version of William Waller Hening, Ed. (1823). The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. Vol. 3. Philadelphia, PA: R. & W. & G. Bartow. pp. 447–463, esp. 447f, 459.  Primary source.
  23. ^ For a popular work that uses this quoted section, but that misquotes this primary source, and includes further untraceable material, see Crotty, Patty; Woods, Meredith & Gaffney, Dennis (2017) [1999]. Sicker, Ted (Prod.), ed. "Part 1, 1450-1750: Narrative, From Indentured Servitude to Racial Slavery". Africans in America. Boston, MA: WGBH and PBS. Retrieved March 8, 2017 – via  Full production credits are available for the series and accompanying materials.
  24. ^ Patrick Minges (2003), Slavery in the Cherokee Nation: the Keetoowah Society and the defining of a people, 1855–1867, Psychology Press, p. 27, ISBN 978-0-415-94586-8 
  25. ^ Kimberley Tolley (2007), Transformations in Schooling: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, Macmillan, p. 228, ISBN 978-1-4039-7404-4 
  26. ^ Tiya Miles (2008). Ties That Bind: The story of an Afro-Cherokee family in slavery and freedom. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520250024. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
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  28. ^ Perdue, Theda (1998). "Defining Community". Cherokee Women. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln & London. pp. 41–59. 
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  35. ^ a b c d Doran, Michael. "Negro Slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 68: 335–350. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.1978.tb01198.x. JSTOR 2561972. 
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  37. ^ Seybert, Tony (August 4, 2004). "Slavery and Native Americans in British North America and the United States: 1600 to 1865". 
  38. ^ a b c d Companion to African American History. pp. 121–139. doi:10.1111/b.9780631230663.2004.00009.x. 
  39. ^ a b Krauthamer, Barbara (2013). Black Slaves, Indian Masters : Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South. Chapel Hil: The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9781469607108. 
  40. ^ Krauthamer, Barbara (2013). Black Slaves, Indian Masters : Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 17–19. ISBN 9781469607108. 
  41. ^ Bragdon, Kathleen (2010). "Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America (review)". Journal of Interdisciplinary History. Harvard University Press. 42: 301–302. doi:10.1162/jinh_r_00232. 
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  43. ^ Dirks, Jerald F. (2006). Muslims in American History: A Forgotten Legacy. Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications. p. 204. ISBN 1590080440. Retrieved March 8, 2017. [better source needed]
  44. ^ Dorothy A. Mays (2008). Women in early America. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781851094295. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  45. ^ Brown, Audrey & Knapp, Anthony et. al. (2008). "Work, Marriage, Christianity". African American Heritage and Ethnography. Archived from the original on January 21, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2017 – via  Content production credits are available for these materials.
  46. ^ Krauthamer, Krauthamer (2013). "Chapter Two: Enslaved People, Missionaries, and Slaveholders: Christianity, Colonialism, and Struggles over Slavery". Black Slaves, Indian Masters : Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 46–76. ISBN 9781469607108. 
  47. ^ Slagle, Allogan. "Burning Phoenix." The Original Keetoowah Society. 1993 (retrieved 14 June 2011)

Books cited

Further reading

  • Blackhawk, Ned. Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2006.
  • Brooks, James F.. Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2002.
  • Ethridge, Robbie and Sheri M. Shuck-Hall, eds. Mapping the Mississippian Shatter Zone: The Colonial Indian Slave Trade and Regional Instability in the American South. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 2009.
  • Gallay, Alan. The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717. New Haven: Yale University Press 2002.
  • Gallay, Alan, ed. Indian Slavery in Colonial America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 2009.
  • Hämäläinen, Pekka. The Comanche Empire. New Haven: Yale University Press 2008.
  • Krauthamer, Barbara. Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2013.
  • Reséndez, Andrés. The Other Slavery: the Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. Boston & New York: Mariner books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016.
  • Snyder, Christina. Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2010.

External links