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Native American Slaveholders Essay

1207 words - 5 pages

Slavery had different forms in space and time. The Native Americans had slavery before Europeans came to America. However when Europeans come Native American cultures need to adapt to their influences. In this essay I will discuss how Native American cultures adapted to European influences by examining the enslavement of African Americans.
For Native Americans slavery was “a legitimate fate for captives of war”. They used captives as forced laborers . Sometimes they could exchange slaves, but never participated in slave market. They were indifferent to the racial differences when they enslaved people. Usually they did not practice life-long slavery. Children did not inherit the ...view middle of the document...

Americans manipulate Indians to be against Afro-Americans showing them European lifestyle and providing them guns and alcohol. They also use Africans to who are bilingual to influence Native Americans. Africans promote “missionary work and acculturation process”. The Native Americans started to depend on manufactured goods that Europeans offered them. Obviously, they needed funds to support themselves.
Native Americans used to get most of their profit from deerskin trade. However it became unprofitable. Indians who were profiting from this trade need to find new source of income. They start owning plantations and eventually adapt the same life styles as wealthy European plantation owners. Some tribes treated African slaves the same way that Europeans did. But it was found that by the begging of 19th Century most of Southern Indians practice the same kind of slavery as their white neighbours. Indians conform to the model of plantation slavery praised by European colonies because of emergence of rice as cash crop. They preferred to have the position of power rather then being enslaved.
Another interesting feature of slaveholding Indians is the abundance of White men who marry Indian women to get access to the land . Usually they originate from East part of America, where there is a substantial shortage of the land. Since Indians have tribal right to their fertile lands, white men resorted to marrying Indian women in order to receive land as part of the dowry. Their children, mestizos, are mixed race aristocrats. They are wealthy, powerful and primary slaveholders among Cherokee and Chickasaw . They are usually controlling Indian government . For example, McGillivray was a leader in resisting European American expansion to Creek tribe territories . Surprisingly, “78% claimed some white ancestry” out of all Cherokee slaveholding families.
Interestingly, some slaves runaway from Whites and come to Indians because they believed that the life amongst them was not as harsh . For example, many primary sources support this idea showing that Cherokees were lenient. But eventually they adopted mounted and armed patrols as a control method . It was thought that the labor was easier . In year 1795 Peter, African American slave, spreads rumour of a “better life” as a slave of Indians rather than Europeans masters . The living conditions of a typical slave were not very harsh. Amongst Seminoles they felt more freedom, although yet not being equal. Masters and slaves lived in similar conditions and ate the same food. Slaves were used for building and cultivation of crops. African Americans show no fear of behavioural punishment because they had freedom of working when they choose to. But there is also evidence that suggests that Indians were not different from Whites: they “whipped, maimed, hung...

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