When we think about early American slavery, our minds evoke images of plantations where enslaved men and women were forced to labor in agricultural fields and inside the homes of wealthy Americans.
These images depict the practice of chattel slavery; a practice where early Americans treated slaves as property that they could buy, sell, trade, and use as they would real estate and draught animals.
But, did you know that some early Americans practiced a different type of slavery?
We investigate the practice of Native American or indigenous slavery, a little-known aspect of early American history, with Brett Rushforth, author of Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France.
This episode originally published as Episode 064.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Brett Rushforth, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Oregon and author of Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France, leads us on an exploration of a little-known aspect of early American history: the practice of Native American slavery.
During our investigation, Brett reveals how Native Americans practiced slavery and how the colonists of New France came to adopt and modify their practices; The day-to-day lives of Native American slaves; And, how Native American slavery controlled French expansion in North America.
What You’ll Discover
- The William and Mary Quarterly and its book reviews
- How slavery in New France differed from slavery in British North America and the French Caribbean
- Geography of New France
- Native American peoples who lived in New France
- How Native American peoples practiced slavery
- How slaves became incorporated into Native American communities
- Day-to-day lives of Native American slaves
- How New France residents came to practice slavery and own Native American slaves
- How Native American slavery controlled French expansion in North America
- Roles Native American slaves played in French-Native American diplomacy
- How interactions between Native Americans and French colonists influenced how each group practiced of slavery
- Whether the people of New France tried to adopt African and African-American chattel slavery
- How Brett uncovered the stories of Native American slaves in the archives
- Stories of Native American slaves
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Brett Rushforth
- Brett on Twitter: @brettrushforth
- The William and Mary Quarterly
- Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France (Listener-Only 40-Percent Discount Code 01BFW)
- Colonial North America and the Atlantic World
- Chris Hodson, Acadian Diaspora: An Eighteenth Century History
- Episode 021: Eugene Tesdahl, Smuggling in Colonial America & Living History
- Episode 108: Ann Little, The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelright
- Episode 139: Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: Indian Enslavement in the Americas
- Episode 170: Wendy Warren, New England Bound: Slavery in Early New England
- Episode 184: David J. Silverman, Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America
In your opinion what might have happened if the Native American practice of slavery had not been a part of how Native peoples’ conducted diplomacy with the French? Would the colonists of New France have practiced Native American slavery or slavery at all?
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