Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Diverse Accounts of Indians, Pilgrims and Colonial america

The Separatists

The Separatists, or Independents, were English Protestants who occupied the extreme wing of Puritanism. The Separatists were severely critical of the Church of England and wanted to either destroy it or separate from it. Their chief complaint was that too many elements of the Roman Catholic Churchhad been retained, such as the ecclesiastical courts, clerical vestments, altars and the practice of kneeling. The Separatists were also critical of the lax standards of public behavior, citing widespread drunkenness and the failure of many to keep the Sabbath properly.
Referring to themselves as the Saints, the Separatists believed that they had been elected by God for salvation (see Calvinism) and feared spiritual contamination if they worshiped with those outside of their congregations, often referred to as the Strangers.
In 1608, a community of English separatists decided to escape persecution by moving to Holland, an area long known for its toleration. Dutch society was so welcoming that the Pilgrims, as they had come to be known, eventually feared that they were losing control over their children. In 1620, they set out for a more remote location that would allow them to protect their community. This effort resulted in the founding of Plymouth Colony.
Other contemporary religious dissenters, the Puritans, believed that the Church of England was badly in need of reform, but could be salvaged.
Plymouth Plantation 1620
The portrayal of Native Americans throughout the establishment of Plymouth Plantation stands in curious relation to Braford's narrative. First of all, there is the initial landing party, with its description of the men led by Captain Miles Standish, firing shots into the darkness at "a hideous and great crie." This they mistook for a "companie of wolves, or such like wild beasts," until the next morning's skirmish--when the "arrowes came flying" and one "lustie man, and no less valiente" who "was seen shoot .3. arrowes" and "stood .3. shot of a musket..." (Wheelwright, 25-26). This is hardly the humble servant offering up the corn at the mere sight of the Pilgrim's arrival (see the Rotunda fresco). And when Samoset, the first representative of the Indians, comes to speak (in "broken English") with the Pilgrims, "he came bouldly amongst them" (emphasis added); and having had previous contact with Europeans, he presumably knew as much or more about the Pilgrims than they about him. Squanto, who had been to England and could communicate well with the colonists, and who taught them "how to set their corne, wher to take fish, and to procure other commodities," is understood by the Pilgrims as "a spetiall instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation" (Wheelwright, 41). Regardless of the sense of utility in such an expression (all things being for them the effect or instrument of God), there is an undeniable gratitude, and even the sense of dependence that those must have before one who would provide aid and instruction.

 The treaty with Massasoit was initiated not by the Pilgrims but by the sachem himself, who had already made an equivalent pact with earlier explorers. The success of the treaty during Massasoit's lifetime suggests an equality, fairness, and tolerance that would be idealized and wistfully re-presented in various remembrances of the overall colonial experience. It allows both the positive exemplar of the 'Indian' in Massasoit, and reassurance of European good-faith in dealing with him. It follows:
.1. That neither he (Massasoit) nor any of his, should injurie or doe hurt to any of their peopl(e).
.2. That if any of his did any hurte to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.
.3. That if any thing were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do like to him.
.4. If any did unjustly warr against him, they would aide him; if any did warr against them, he should aide them. He should send to his neighbours confederates, to certifie them of his, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.

Puritans 1630
Although there was little difference in the base religious belief between the Pilgrims and Puritan's, the Pilgrim's in general, treated with the Native American's on a more "humanitarian" level after the initial encounters. After the Puritan's arrival 10 years later, the treatment of the Indian's became that of conquer to ignorant savage, and they were regarded as property to be acquired, killed, captured and sold as slaves to pay for the expense of colonization.
 Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyT

Slavery in the New Puritan America

In 1607, English settlers established Jamestown as the first permanent English colony in the New World.[4]Tobacco became the chief crop of the colony, due to the efforts of John Rolfe in 1611. Once it became clear that tobacco was going to drive the Jamestown colony, more labor was needed. At first, indentured servantswere used as the needed labor.[5] These servants provided up to seven years of free service and had their trip to Jamestown paid for by someone in Jamestown. Once the seven years was over, the indentured servant was free to live in Jamestown as a regular citizen. However, colonists began to see indentured servant as too costly, and in 1619, Dutch traders brought the first African slaves to Jamestown.[6] 

Most Native American tribal groups practiced some form of slavery before the European introduction of African slavery into North America; but none exploited slave labor on a large scale. Indian groups frequently enslaved war captives whom they used for small-scale labor and in ritual sacrifice. Most of these so-called Indian slaves tended to live, however, on the fringes of Indian society. Although not much is known about them, there is little evidence that they were considered racially inferior to the Indians who held power over them. Nor did Indians buy and sell captives in the pre-colonial era, although they sometimes exchanged enslaved Indians with other tribes in peace gestures or in exchange for their own members. In fact, the word "slave" may not even accurately apply to these captive people.

Once Europeans arrived as colonialists in North America, the nature of Indian slavery changed abruptly and dramatically. Indians found that British settlers, especially those in the southern colonies, eagerly purchased or captured Indians to use as forced labor in cultivating tobacco, rice, and indigo. More and more, Indians began selling war captives to whites rather than integrating them into their own societies. And as the demand for labor in the West Indies became insatiable, whites began to actively enslave Indians for export to the so-called "sugar islands."

It is not known how many Indians were enslaved by the Europeans, but they certainly numbered in the tens of thousands. It is estimated that Carolina merchants operating out of Charles Town shipped an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Indian captives between 1670 and 1715 in a profitable slave trade with the Caribbean, Spanish Hispaniola, and northern colonies. Because of the higher transportation costs of bringing blacks from Africa, whites in the northern colonies sometimes preferred Indian slaves, especially Indian women and children, to blacks. Carolina actually exported as many or even more Indian slaves than it imported enslaved Africans prior to 1720. The usual exchange rate of captive Indians for enslaved Africans was two or three Indians to one African.

Until late in the 18th century, Indian slaves worked on English plantations along side African slaves and even, occasionally, white indentured servants. Women and children frequently were used as menial laborers or domestic servants. By 1720, most whites in the southeastern British colonies preferred enslaved Africans to Indians for obvious reasons. Indians could, for one thing, more easily run away into the wilderness. Also, Europeans always feared the possibility of a coalition of enslaved Africans and enslaved Indians, aided by free Indians on the frontier. What’s more, English settlers played the Indians off against one another in the various Indian wars or wars of empire fought between European colonial powers, using them as allies or as paid mercenaries. Additionally, Europeans commonly believed that Native American men, culturally conditioned to be hunters, considered fieldwork to be women’s work, and that Indian warriors would not adapt easily to agricultural labor in comparison to enslaved Africans. Most importantly, the demand for enslaved labor in the tobacco and rice plantations came to far exceed the potential supply of Indian captives, especially once European diseases began to decimate Indian populations and once the Indians began to more effectively resist European powers.
The Indian slave trade lasted only until around 1730, and it was characterized by a series of devastating wars among the tribes. Those Indians nearer the European settlements raided tribes farther in the interior in the quest for slaves to be sold, especially to the British. Before 1700, the Westos in Carolina dominated much of the Indian slave trade until the English, allied with the Savannah, who resented Westo control of the trade, wiped them out. The Westo tribal group was completely eliminated; its survivors were scattered or else sold into slavery in Antigua.
A similar pattern of friendly and then hostile relations among the English and Indians followed in the southeastern colonies. For example the Creek, a loose confederacy of many different groups who had banded together to defend themselves against slave-raiding, allied with the English and moved on the Apalachee in Spanish Florida, destroying them as a group of people in the quest for Indian slaves. These raids also destroyed several other Florida Indian tribes, including the Timucua. Indeed, most of the colonial-era Indians of Florida were killed, enslaved, or scattered. It is estimated that English-Creek raids on Florida yielded 4,000 Indian slaves between 1700 and 1705.
A few years later, the Florida Savannahs (or Shawnee) raided in similar fashion the Cherokee. In North Carolina, the Tuscarora, fearing among other things that the English planned to enslave them as well as take their land, attacked the English in a war that lasted from 1711 to 1713. In this war, Carolina whites, aided by the Yamasee, completely vanquished the Tuscarora, taking thousands of captives as slaves. Within a few years, a similar fate befell the Yuchis and the Yamasee, who had fallen out of favor with the British.
In Mississippi and Tennessee, the war-like Chickasaw played both the French and British off against each other and preyed on the Choctaw, traditional allies of the French, as well as the Arkansas, the Tunica, and the Taensa, establishing slave depots throughout their territories. A single Chickasaw raid in 1706 on the Choctaw yielded 300 Indian captives for the English. In response, the French armed the Natchez, who lived on the banks of the Mississippi, and the Illinois against the Chickasaw. By 1729, the Natchez, along with a number of enslaved and runaway blacks who lived amongst them, rose up against the French and were massacred in turn by an army composed of French soldiers, Choctaw warriors, and enslaved Africans.

Race Frontiers: Indian Slavery in Colonial New England

Principal Investigator: Margaret Newell

Historians of racial slavery in America generally focus on the encounter between Europeans and Africans, especially in the South.  Yet, Native Americans represented a majority of those enslaved by European colonists in much of North America through the early 18th century.
In her Mershon-supported project Race Frontiers: Indian Slavery in Colonial New England, Margaret Newell reconstructs this history of slavery and its devastating impact on Native Americans in New England.
The issues she examines have present-day analogies ranging from ethnic cleansing in Europe and Africa to enslavement in Sudan.  They also speak to questions of ideas, identities and their impact on security policy, as colonists imposed racial identities on Indians as a means of social control.
Standard accounts stress the primacy of family labor among the Puritans, but the reality is that colonists bound thousands of Indian men, women and children into servitude.  Indian slavery was both an economic strategy -- white colonists relied on Indian labor -- and a way to assert control over a Native American population that lived near white settlements.
Newell’s book examines the ideological and legal processes by which New England settlers came to sanction the slavery of native inhabitants.  The colonists invoked a “just war” argument for taking Indian slaves during the Pequot War of 1637 and King Philip’s War in 1676. 
Even outside of wartime, colonists sought to convert Indians into servants.  From 1636 to 1700, New Englanders enslaved 2,000 Native Americans and sentenced hundreds more to long terms of servitude. By the mid-18th century, one-third of Indians in southern New England lived in white households as servants or slaves.
Newell also explores changes in enslavement from 1680 to 1760.  With victory in King Philip’s War, colonists succeeded in establishing sovereignty over Indians in southern New England.  Although new laws banned enslavement and regulated servitude, both persisted.
Most notably, judicial enslavement -– or sentencing Native Americans to long periods of involuntary servitude for debt or criminal infractions -– became prevalent. At the same time, colonists created a “race frontier” that stripped people of color – Indians, Africans, and people of mixed race – of rights enjoyed by whites. 
Besides publishing a book, Newell hopes to organize a conference at the Mershon Center on America’s treatment of prisoners and non-combatants during wartime.
  © 2006-11 Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: 614.292.1681
Fax: 614.292.2407
Email: mershoncenter@osu.edu

Margaret Newell
Margaret Newell
Associate Professor of History
The Ohio State University

No comments:

Post a Comment