Written Out of History: The Untold Legacy of Native American Slavery
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Written Out of History: The Untold Legacy of Native American Slavery

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September 4, 2011

Written Out of History blends historical facts with accounts of the forgotten legacy of Native American slavery as told by indigenous scholars and anthropologists.

Originally shot on location in North America, Europe, and the Caribbean, this documentary film by Max Carocci and Simona Piantieri reconstructs for the first time on camera the events that led to the erasure of indigenous forced labour from the annals of history.

For more on the legacy of Native American slavery, please see Max Carocci’s 2009 article, Written out of history: Contemporary Native American narratives of enslavement.

Here’s an excerpt:

“It has been estimated that before 1715, 51,000 Native Americans were sent by the British from North and South Carolina to the newly established colonies of the Caribbean (Gallay 2002). To these numbers, we should add all the Native slaves shipped from the northern Atlantic states such as Connecticut and Rhode Island, as well as those sent by the French, Dutch and Spanish from their territories to various parts of their colonial domains. Although these numbers are comparatively less than the millions of slaves deported from Africa, we will not have totals of Native American slaves until we systematically put together the scattered documentation concerning slavery and practices related to involuntary forms of servitude applied to them. Data concerning Native American slavery in all its multiple forms is contained in shipping records, legal documents, and the correspondence of government officials and slavers such as the notorious Thomas Nairne (Moore 1988).

“The pre-African commerce in human beings in and from North America was gradually superseded by the importation of Africans, but full slavery and other forms of un-free labour were imposed on many North American indigenous peoples throughout the 19th century both in the northeast (Herndon and Sekatau 1997, 2005) and in the Spanish domains of California, New Mexico and Texas (Barr 2005, Brooks 2002), a fact that challenges hitherto received views about North American slavery. For over 300 years after the arrival of the first Europeans, Native Americans continued to be sold, bartered, exchanged and forced to work for all colonial powers in a variety of ways and contexts. As a consequence, slavery and various forms of servitude affected Native Americans on a significantly larger scale than approximate numbers at hand may suggest (Magnaghi 1998).”

Continue Reading: Written out of history: Contemporary Native American narratives of enslavement.

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