jay222212 | Indy Week

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Re: “Zelda Lockhart explores the shared histories of Native and African Americans

However, slavery in the Indian nations differed in significant ways from American slavery. By most accounts, black families owned by Indians were not sold apart and usually were permitted to live together even if individual family members had different masters. Indian slaveholders generally did not use violence to control their slaves, and slaves were not regarded as dehumanized beasts of burden. Despite the nations' restrictive slave codes, blacks were allowed to gather on their own for religious services and were usually permitted to learn to read and write. Slaves who spoke and wrote English, furthermore, provided important services as translators for those Indians who were not fluent in English. Because many slaves had been born and raised in the Indian nations and had long family histories among the Indians, they shared many of the distinctive features of Indian culture and daily life. Black women in the Creek Nation, for example, prepared food according Indian customs and wore the same style of clothing as Creek women.

Although slaves did not have lives characterized by brutality and exploitation, they nonetheless occupied a degraded status as unfree people in the Indian nations, and their acts of resistance highlighted their desire to acquire freedom. In 1842 slaves in the Cherokee Nation took horses, supplies, guns, and ammunition and attempted to flee from the Indian Territory to Mexico, where slavery had been abolished. In 1850 Seminole leader Wild Cat left the Indian Territory with approximately three hundred blacks to establish a settlement in Mexico.

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Posted by jay222212 on 03/01/2012 at 9:06 PM

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