Slavery is an “abominable institution” that has plagued humanity throughout time. Slavery seems to be one of the few constants that we see throughout our shared past. The United States of America was built, to a great degree, on the backs of slaves. There has been a great deal of research into African slavery in America, from the buying of the slaves in Africa, to the voyage across the middle passage where so many people died, to the American markets where they were sold, to the living conditions that they endured in their new lives as slaves.
Native American enslavement has not been nearly as researched or even known. Native Americans were kept as slaves in the new world. They were also slavers and slaveholders. Native Peoples were taken as war captives as well as kidnapped and taken from their homes. Some were sent to the West Indies, while others were kept as laborers and house servants.
This research paper will focus on the question of whether or not Native slaves were treated differently from African slaves. The paper will also look at the concept of race in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to as to who was legally considered Indian or “Negro” by the courts and whether or not that made a difference in their daily lives.
Adams, John. "Slavery and Race in Jeffersonian America." www.digitalhistory.uh.edu.
www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/documents/documents_p2.cfm?doc=356 (accessed May 1, 2012).
This source has writings from Adam’s promoting the slow abolition of slavery msainly for the safety of the country..
Hening, William. "Virginia Slave Laws." www.digitalhistory.edu.
www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/documents_p2.cfm?doc=217 (accessed May 1, 2012).
This source includes focuses on the confusion that was felt by whites about concepts of race.
Jefferson, Thomas. "Native Americans and the American Revolutions." www.digitalhistory.uh.edu.
www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/documents/documents_p2.cfm?doc=307 (accessed May 1, 2012).
This source includes text from Jefferson about sending an expedition into Indian country to see
if it was safe for settlers. Jefferson also writes about the brutality that he thinks will be necessary in Indian country to achieve the United States objectives in the region.
Mittelberger, Gottlieb. "Immigration and Ethnic Diversity." www.digitalhistory.uh.edu. www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/documents/documents_p2.cfm?doc=227 (accessed May 1, 2012).
Discusses the hardships endured by people on the voyage to America.
"Objects in the Dark, 1636-1775 Tha Black Codes." www.hartford-hwp.com . www.hartford-
hwp.com/HBHP/exhibit/02/2.html (accessed May 1, 2012).
Includes a copy of the original “Black Codes” and information about what the documents meant
within the context of the times.
"The New Mafter and Miftress." www.pbs.org.
May 1, 2012).
Original document of a slave remembering her youth.
"The Slave Experience:Living Conditions." www.pbs.org.
www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/experience/living/docs1.html (accessed May 1, 2012).
A 1669 act that stated that masters would not be punished for killing the slaves that they
"The Slave Experience:Living Conditions Original Documents." www.pbs.org.
www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/experience/living/docs8.html (accessed May 1, 2012).
This source specifically focuses on the living condition of slaves in New England.
Boston, Nicholas. "Slavery and the Making of America Living Conditions." www.pbs.org.
www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/experience/living/p_history.html (accessed May 1, 2012).
This source discusses the living condition that slaves endured.
Carocci, Max. “Written out of history: Contemporary Native American narratives of Enslavement.” Anthropology Today 25, no. 3 (June 2009): 18-22. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 3, 2012).
This source discusses both Native slavery and how it has been “left out” of history.
Gallay, Allan. Indian Slavery in Colonial America. The University of Nebraska Press, 2009.
This book has several lengthy essays focused on the enslavement of Native Peoples from different perspectives. The first essay has the most information on Indian-Black issues in colonial Virginia. The essays on the Cherokee and Chickasaw are also helpful.
Miles, Tiya. 2008. “The Narrative of Nancy, A Cherokee Woman.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 29, no. 2/3: 59-80. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 3, 2012).
A discussion of one woman’s fight to be recognized as Indian and freed from slavery.
Perdue, Theda. Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society, 1540-1806. Knoxville: The University of
Tennessee Press, 1979. (accessed May 1, 2012).
This book focuses on Cherokees as slaves and slaveholders. This book also has a focus on
Silver, Peter. Our Savage Neighbors. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2008. (accessed May 1,
This book focuses on Indian-White relations in regards to the combination of religion and politics.
Sturtevant(editor), Washburn(editor), William, Wilcomb. Handbook of North American Indians, 4 History
of Indian-White Relations. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1998. (accessed May 1, 2012).
This is a good starting point for finding an overview of Indian slavery and enslavement throughout the United States(has twelve pages on the subject).