Every once in a while, I encounter a book that sparks my historical thinking–not just as I read it. Every few days that thinking resurfaces in my mind.
Indian Slavery in Colonial America is such a book. Tucked away on the shelf. All by itself. Not part of a category.
Edited by Alan Gallay and published in 2009 by the University of Nebraska Press in Lincoln. Two chapters are still in my mind–
1. Denise I. Bossy, “Indian Slavery in Southeastern Indian and British Societies, 1670-1730.” p. 208–“The Indian Slave Trade was founded on the European traditions of purchasing bound labor and the Indian traditions of taking war captives.”
2. C. S. Everett, “They Shall be Slaves for Lives.” This chapter is excerpted from his dissertation, An Inhuman Practice Once Prevailed in this Country, Vanderbilt University, 2009. An Act of the Virginia Assembly, Oct 1670, Act XII–any non-Christian servants imported by sea would be slaves.
Discussed in this provocative volume are these persons–
__colored persons of Indian descent
__tribal Indians (non-citizens)
__town Indians (non-citizens)
__reservation Indians (non-citizens)
__contract Indian servants
__”hostile” Indians (those who fled their town)
During the Anglo-Powhatan War, 1622-32, Indian slavery was mandated for those Indians taken prisoner. By the 3rd Anglo-Powhatan War, 1644-46, Indian captives were being sold as slaves within West Indian colonies. And an external market, of considerable size, developed to foreign countries, as well as outsettlements of Virginia along rivers throughout the South.
Indian children were preferred to adults–the children did not try to escape. They never remembered they were Indian or of what tribe they came from. They could be trans-shipped to Caribbean ports from Virginia and sold into other colonies along the eastern seaboard.
These facts are carefully documented in little-known sources not previously used for Southern history. And Bacon’s Rebellion was directly connected to Indian slavery which was becoming quite lucrative!
Some 60 different Indian tribes and groups of tribes are identified and documented in this seminal study. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS Add this title to your Spring reading list. You will not be sorry!