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A landmark history — the sweeping story of the enslavement of tens of thousands of Indians across America, from the time of the conquistadors up to the early 20th century Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an A landmark history — the sweeping story of the enslavement of tens of thousands of Indians across America, from the time of the conquistadors up to the early 20th century Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors, then forced to descend into the “mouth of hell” of eighteenth-century silver mines or, later, made to serve as domestics for Mormon settlers and rich Anglos. Reséndez builds the incisive case that it was mass slavery, more than epidemics, that decimated Indian populations across North America. New evidence, including testimonies of courageous priests, rapacious merchants, Indian captives, and Anglo colonists, sheds light too on Indian enslavement of other Indians — as what started as a European business passed into the hands of indigenous operators and spread like wildfire across vast tracts of the American Southwest. The Other Slavery reveals nothing less than a key missing piece of American history. For over two centuries we have fought over, abolished, and tried to come to grips with African-American slavery. It is time for the West to confront an entirely separate, equally devastating enslavement we have long failed truly to see.


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A landmark history — the sweeping story of the enslavement of tens of thousands of Indians across America, from the time of the conquistadors up to the early 20th century Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an A landmark history — the sweeping story of the enslavement of tens of thousands of Indians across America, from the time of the conquistadors up to the early 20th century Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as Andrés Reséndez illuminates in his myth-shattering The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors, then forced to descend into the “mouth of hell” of eighteenth-century silver mines or, later, made to serve as domestics for Mormon settlers and rich Anglos. Reséndez builds the incisive case that it was mass slavery, more than epidemics, that decimated Indian populations across North America. New evidence, including testimonies of courageous priests, rapacious merchants, Indian captives, and Anglo colonists, sheds light too on Indian enslavement of other Indians — as what started as a European business passed into the hands of indigenous operators and spread like wildfire across vast tracts of the American Southwest. The Other Slavery reveals nothing less than a key missing piece of American history. For over two centuries we have fought over, abolished, and tried to come to grips with African-American slavery. It is time for the West to confront an entirely separate, equally devastating enslavement we have long failed truly to see.

30 review for The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    4.5 stars rounded up. Thinking about the subject of slavery in America will, for most people, conjure up horrific images of Africans taken from homeland and families, packed in confined spaces on ships and enduring unimaginable conditions and treatment once they reach their destination. It is a tragic and vile chapter in our history, and a reminder of the horrors that humans can inflict on other humans in the name of economic power and gain. But, as the author of this book reveals, Africans were 4.5 stars rounded up. Thinking about the subject of slavery in America will, for most people, conjure up horrific images of Africans taken from homeland and families, packed in confined spaces on ships and enduring unimaginable conditions and treatment once they reach their destination. It is a tragic and vile chapter in our history, and a reminder of the horrors that humans can inflict on other humans in the name of economic power and gain. But, as the author of this book reveals, Africans were not the only victims of the slave trade in America -- "the other slavery" involved indigenous people. This "other slavery" didn't replace African slavery; on the contrary, it was, as the author notes, "there all along." Starting with the Caribbean, the book moves through parts of Central America and on into North America to reveal that while the practice of slavery had already long existed between tribes in these areas prior to European contact, it was the arrival of the Europeans that caused a major transformation in the practice itself. As they spread throughout these areas, "the other slavery" was "never a single institution," but became a "set of kaleidoscopic practices suited to different markets and regions." As the dustjacket blurb notes, "what started as a European business passed into the hands of indigenous operators and spread like wildfire across vast tracts of the American Southwest." This transformation also had a tremendous impact on and helps to better understand the shared history of Mexico and the United States. This book is not only eye opening, but eye popping as well. It is a difficult book to read at times on an emotional level, but even though as one GR reader put it is "heavy on historical terminology," it is still very accessible readingwise. Just don't expect the history for the masses approach going into it and you won't be disappointed. And of course, I've written a longer post found here if anyone's interested.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Beata

    A very interesting piece of non-fiction tackling the issue that is not so widely discussed. I definitely learnt a lot about slavery other than described in novels.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    While I found Resendez's book interesting, his argument that enslavement was a major overlooked cause of the decimation of the New World Indian population fell short for me. I was convinced that in the early Columbian period a large segment of natives were worked to death, but the numbers for later periods seemed relatively small. Yes, enslavement of the Indians definitely happened, and the author is correct that most Americans overlook this fact and think of slavery in the United States as a Ne While I found Resendez's book interesting, his argument that enslavement was a major overlooked cause of the decimation of the New World Indian population fell short for me. I was convinced that in the early Columbian period a large segment of natives were worked to death, but the numbers for later periods seemed relatively small. Yes, enslavement of the Indians definitely happened, and the author is correct that most Americans overlook this fact and think of slavery in the United States as a Negro phenomenon, but I feel The Other Slavery overstates its case. I was especially unconvinced by his assumption that every Indian child appearing in Mexican (including territories that became part of the U.S. with the Gadsden Purchase in 1853) baptismal records was a slave. Is it so unbelievable that there were good people who actually adopted these children, even if they were culturally ignorant by today's "enlightened" standards? He makes the same supposition in regards to Mormon settlers in Utah who took in Indian captives, often when Indian raiders gave them the choice of purchasing the children or watching them have their throats slit. My 4th great-grandfather, Abraham Hunsaker, "adopted" an orphaned Indian child who was later shot by federal soldiers claiming to believe he was "stealing" the cattle he was herding (yes, children in families did work back then), and I've read the journal entry where that beloved child was mourned. He was not a slave, yet Resendez would have included Lemuel Hunsaker in his list of enslaved Utah Indians. How can I trust that he is correct in any of his other inferences? This book did make me rethink some of my own assumptions about the relationships between whites and natives in the American west, including those of my own ancestors. I have always taken the above story of Indian Lemuel at face value, but can I be sure he was truly an orphan? And did he want to be with the Hunsaker family, even if they did treat him like one of their own? Did he feel robbed of his culture, or was he grateful to be included in the white world? And how included was he really? Anyway, I'm glad I read the book because it made me think, but I was not convinced by the overriding thesis. 3.5 stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David

    Thoroughly researched and extremely informative. Over 100 pages of endnotes with extensive background information, primary source material, and a detailed account of the ‘other’ slavery, which essentially was the precursor to modern human trafficking. Focuses primarily on the Spanish (and later Mexican) aspect of the ‘other’ slavery, as the author is a Mexican historian, with only a portion of the book dealing with American trafficking of Native Peoples or other forms of coerced labor or outrigh Thoroughly researched and extremely informative. Over 100 pages of endnotes with extensive background information, primary source material, and a detailed account of the ‘other’ slavery, which essentially was the precursor to modern human trafficking. Focuses primarily on the Spanish (and later Mexican) aspect of the ‘other’ slavery, as the author is a Mexican historian, with only a portion of the book dealing with American trafficking of Native Peoples or other forms of coerced labor or outright slavery. A very heavy and scholarly book, not for the faint of heart.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    A stunning and necessary history—especially the end covering Native American enslavement in Utah. However, I am not sure about the claims about enslavement causing the decimation of the Native populations in the Americas—or rather his rejection of the disease hypothesis. I just don’t think it was necessary—given that he’s not doing the research himself—to make such a strong empirical claim without more data.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Francesca Calarco

    Much of early colonial American history follows a fairly standard narrative—the country was established on land stolen from Native Americans and founded with the forced labor/lives stolen from enslaved Africans/African Americans. In The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, Andrés Reséndez seeks to better understand the root concept of slavery. Different from the U.S. chattel slavery of African Americans, “the other slavery” is a term that describes the systems of c Much of early colonial American history follows a fairly standard narrative—the country was established on land stolen from Native Americans and founded with the forced labor/lives stolen from enslaved Africans/African Americans. In The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, Andrés Reséndez seeks to better understand the root concept of slavery. Different from the U.S. chattel slavery of African Americans, “the other slavery” is a term that describes the systems of control used to ensnare Native Americans, as well as the range of coercion used to induce forced captivity. Reséndez’s timeline of events shows how early European “discoverers” were actually burgeoning slavers starting with the first arrival—Christopher Columbus. While African slavery consisted largely of adult males, the Native American slave trade consisted predominantly of women and children. “Native Americans had enslaved each other for millennia, but with the arrival of Europeans, practices of captivity originally embedded in specific cultural contexts became commodified, expanded in unexpected ways, and came to resemble the kinds of human trafficking that are recognizable to us today.” (3) One of the crude bullet point notes of history that I can recall from my primary school social studies courses, was that Native Americans did not make for “good slaves,” and that is why Europeans partook in the African slave trade. The major underlying reason for this, that me and my young classmates were given, was that much of the eradication of Native Americans was attributed to Old World diseases that these New World populations lacked immunity to. As we can see in the present with COVID-19, it's the communities that lack resources who are most likely to succumb to the disease and perish at alarming numbers. Reséndez argues that the nexus of forced labor, overwork, famine, and other forms of coercion imposed by Europeans are ultimately what killed more Native Americans, as these factors set the stage for plague to spread rampant like wildfire. As we see today, the more inhumane and impoverished the living conditions of a population, the more likely they are to be infected and die from a new infectious disease. There are certainly correlations between malnourishment and the body succumbing to the worst symptoms of a given infection. The echo of history is as alarming as it is chilling. Also, interestingly, are how false accusations used to coerce Native Americans into servitude grew to remain unfortunate stereotypes of groups to this day. For instance, while there were SOME groups that would practice cannibalism in the Caribbean, to justify a Christian cause for civilizing enslavement, there were Spanish settlers who would falsely accuse peaceful Native groups as being man-eating, so that they could have cause to enslave them. Furthermore, the more I learn, the more obvious it becomes that European slave systems were inherently capitalistic enterprises that commodified the bodies of people considered to be from inferior (non-Christian) racial groups. While not “slavery” outright, the Spanish system of enslavement was nonetheless a nefarious enterprise in that, “From a narrow legal perspective, these Indians would not be slaves, but rather convicts serving out their sentences” (90). These technicalities are what ultimately gave birth to the encomienda system, as well as other forms of debt peonage. As much of this book focuses on Spanish enforced enslavement, it is not until Chapter 10 that the U.S. enters the stage (by the 1800s). While I was more-so familiar with the treatment of Native Americans in New Mexico and California, I was genuinely surprised by how heavily involved Mormons were with Native American enslavement in Utah. Religious leader Brigham Young even considered it to be a part of the human condition. Even as the United States legally ended African slavery, it is fairly evident that features of “the other slavery” were adapted, either directly or indirectly, and debt peonage would serve as the basis for Jim Crow era forced labor. “African slavery may have been abolished, but the methods of the other slavery were spreading to the South” (303). Overall, this is a pretty solid source that is well-researched and well-argued. Whether you are interested in the topics of Native American history, genocide, American slave systems, colonization, etc.—this book is definitely a historical narrative worth reading.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sara G

    This is a really interesting history of forced servitude (a euphemism for slavery, of course) of the indigenous peoples in North America after European contact. I found some of the author's arguments to be really compelling. For example, the fact that islands like the Bahamas and my own home area of Pinellas County Florida were entirely depopulated of natives, whereas places like Mexico and South America that arguably had as much contact with the Spanish still have many people of native descent, This is a really interesting history of forced servitude (a euphemism for slavery, of course) of the indigenous peoples in North America after European contact. I found some of the author's arguments to be really compelling. For example, the fact that islands like the Bahamas and my own home area of Pinellas County Florida were entirely depopulated of natives, whereas places like Mexico and South America that arguably had as much contact with the Spanish still have many people of native descent, doesn't really mesh with the traditional "smallpox and other diseases wiped them out" narrative. Other arguments, like stating that the majority of native children being baptized in New Mexico during a certain timeframe were very likely slaves, were more nuanced and I'm not sure what to think. Obviously we think differently today about slavery, not to mention child labor and religious indoctrination, so it's hard to judge these sparse documents from an objective perspective. Regardless, it's a sad and important story about what happened to the indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere after the Europeans came.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John

    A careful work of scholarship, the author puts to rest any notion that "slavery" in the context of the Indians of the Americas is just "spin." Though different from the enslavement of so many Africans and African-Americans, this very adaptable "other slavery" came first, outlasted the American Civil War, provided the archticture for "Jim Crow" laws, and has echoes in today's human traffiking. And the book's documentation of New Mexico as a slaving ground for Mexico's silver mines provides a horr A careful work of scholarship, the author puts to rest any notion that "slavery" in the context of the Indians of the Americas is just "spin." Though different from the enslavement of so many Africans and African-Americans, this very adaptable "other slavery" came first, outlasted the American Civil War, provided the archticture for "Jim Crow" laws, and has echoes in today's human traffiking. And the book's documentation of New Mexico as a slaving ground for Mexico's silver mines provides a horrible explanation for Onate's presence, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and the hideous antagonism that has lasted so long among all the state's peoples.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Exhaustive look at the enslavement of Native American peoples throughout the 16th-19th centuries, it was a difficult read but all-encompassing and interesting at the same time. I feel like I've learned a lot not only about American history but the concept of slavery and how persistent in different forms that it really is. Exhaustive look at the enslavement of Native American peoples throughout the 16th-19th centuries, it was a difficult read but all-encompassing and interesting at the same time. I feel like I've learned a lot not only about American history but the concept of slavery and how persistent in different forms that it really is.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Resendez’s books is look at the slavery of Indigenous populations in North and South America during the period of colonialization. Most of the book is concerned with such slavery in Mexico and the areas of North America that originally were Spanish before being taken by the US, so the south-Western U.S. He chronicles such slavery both under Spanish and American governance. The system of slavery that is described is actually more than one system, and what is interesting, at times, is how the Span Resendez’s books is look at the slavery of Indigenous populations in North and South America during the period of colonialization. Most of the book is concerned with such slavery in Mexico and the areas of North America that originally were Spanish before being taken by the US, so the south-Western U.S. He chronicles such slavery both under Spanish and American governance. The system of slavery that is described is actually more than one system, and what is interesting, at times, is how the Spanish royals responded to the enslavement of Indigenous people to why some people went West, which had little to do with gold and land. The story starts with the arrival of Columbus. Resendez then moves to Mexico and the United States. Included is a comparison between slavery as practiced by the indigenous population versus as adapted by the colonizers versus that used to enslave Africans. In some places, the Indigenous population had more recourse while in others they were simply a form of (cheap) slave labor. What is also interesting is the connection that is made to the use of debt to construct a legal form of slavery. The history is made more personal by the use of example of families or individuals as well as a look at how various tribes and nations responded. The existence of slavery in the Americas is linked both to the treatment of the Indigenous population but also to the history of how the West was developed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    When you hear or see the word 'slavery', what comes to mind? As Andres Resendez points out, the vast majority of us will envision African slaves, over-crowded and disease-ridden boats, and southern plantations. While that is a tragic, inexcusable part of American history, Africans were not the only people enslaved during the early, tumultuous years of America's beginnings. The Native Americans who'd roamed the country freely, who'd called the land their own for centuries before Europeans appeare When you hear or see the word 'slavery', what comes to mind? As Andres Resendez points out, the vast majority of us will envision African slaves, over-crowded and disease-ridden boats, and southern plantations. While that is a tragic, inexcusable part of American history, Africans were not the only people enslaved during the early, tumultuous years of America's beginnings. The Native Americans who'd roamed the country freely, who'd called the land their own for centuries before Europeans appeared, suddenly found themselves ripped away from their homeland and families, bought, sold, and traded. This occurred in staggering numbers, over a period of centuries. This book is exceptionally well researched, yet it does not read like a dry textbook. Yes, it's a fairly academic read, in that it's rich in detail, but the writing is alive with texture and emotion. Resendez takes us back to an America most of us wouldn't recognize, to a time when owning a person was somehow justified as a Christian act of kindness. People disguised greed and bigotry as a necessary and righteous behavior, enabling themselves to steal Indian children and put them to work in the name of God. Resendez takes us from the early struggles with Mexico, up through the Civil War. Most of the focus here is on the American Southwest and Mexico, then over to the American West. He highlights the country's dichotomy in fighting a Civil War to free African slaves, while continuing the enslave a disturbing number of Native Americans. In closing, Resendez briefly discusses our world history of slavery, and how it has never gone away but only evolved into something else to fit the circumstances and skirt the law. This is a powerful, well written, disturbing, must-read book that should be in every school, a part of every history curriculum, and read by every adult. We need to acknowledge our problematic past if we have any hope of preventing a disastrous future.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jo Stafford

    In this important history of the enslavement of the Native peoples of the Americas, Andres Resendez takes us through 400 years of the buying and selling of Indian people and the exploitation of their forced labor, from the gold mines of Hispaniola in the 1500s to the silver mines of Mexico in the 1600s and the sprawling ranches of northern California in the 1800s. There is a wealth of information in this well-researched and enlightening book. Resendez throws new light on the causes of the 1680 P In this important history of the enslavement of the Native peoples of the Americas, Andres Resendez takes us through 400 years of the buying and selling of Indian people and the exploitation of their forced labor, from the gold mines of Hispaniola in the 1500s to the silver mines of Mexico in the 1600s and the sprawling ranches of northern California in the 1800s. There is a wealth of information in this well-researched and enlightening book. Resendez throws new light on the causes of the 1680 Pueblo revolt against the Spanish in New Mexico; highlights the brutal impact of slavery on the indigenous people of the Caribbean, Chile, and Mexico; and describes how the Mormons came to justify the enslavement of Native Americans. Resendez confronts the history of Indian slaveholding head-on. He points out that human bondage in Native American societies existed in very specific cultural contexts and did not resemble the wholesale trafficking in humans that Europeans engaged in when they colonized the Americas. He also discusses how some Native American nations, such as the Comanche and the Ute, became dominant players in the slave trade, as they adapted their own captive-holding practices to meet the demands of the Euro-American slave market. Although The Other Slavery is wide-ranging in scope, it is also tightly focused. Resendez has a strong command of his material, and I found the maps particularly helpful. This is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn about one of the most shameful and least-known chapters in the history of the European invasion of the Americas.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    It's been a long time since I took American History in school, but I know "The Other Slavery" was not only not taught, it wasn't even mentioned which it should have been. Atrocities, mistreatment and dehumanization applied to African as well as Indian slaves; and, not just by the white man. The book takes us from Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand funding exploration of the new world (and the slavers and slavery that became an industry) through the New Mexico, the United States as it was being se It's been a long time since I took American History in school, but I know "The Other Slavery" was not only not taught, it wasn't even mentioned which it should have been. Atrocities, mistreatment and dehumanization applied to African as well as Indian slaves; and, not just by the white man. The book takes us from Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand funding exploration of the new world (and the slavers and slavery that became an industry) through the New Mexico, the United States as it was being settled and the wild west was being discovered, through modern day (think human trafficking). It's no wonder there were Indian uprisings and rebellions, explorers and exploiters tricked Indians into thinking they were friends then turned around and massacred the men and enslaved the women and children. They brought new diseases to the new world that sickened the Indians and caused many deaths. They relocated tribes hundreds of miles away from their homeland where they had been successful at agriculture, for instance, and relocated them to barren plains and deserts. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it - and thus we have human trafficking in the world today. A well written and well researched book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ai Miller

    An interesting introduction to thinking about enslavement of American Indian people from the beginnings of colonization. Reséndez traces not only explicit enslavement, but also the ways in which enslavers (particularly Spanish enslavers) managed to keep systems of enslavement in place even when laws dictated they should fall apart. Through this analysis, Reséndez makes the systems of enslavement that still exist more legible as such. His analysis does fail entirely to go into the ways that sexual An interesting introduction to thinking about enslavement of American Indian people from the beginnings of colonization. Reséndez traces not only explicit enslavement, but also the ways in which enslavers (particularly Spanish enslavers) managed to keep systems of enslavement in place even when laws dictated they should fall apart. Through this analysis, Reséndez makes the systems of enslavement that still exist more legible as such. His analysis does fail entirely to go into the ways that sexual violence was a major part of this--he makes clear that women were more highly valued on slave markets, but just erases the reasons for that, which mirrors the continual erasure of the amount of sexual violence that Native women experience to this day. This massive gap in his analysis really needs to be addressed, and the fact that it is not in this book is really a problem. Nevertheless, undoubtedly this book will open doors for more historians to examine this phenomenon, and to begin to make connections intellectually between American Indian enslavement and African enslavement on the North American continent, making both avenues of thought more productive.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The revelation in this book about the unbreakable cycle of slavery in the world is disheartening, but vital. When you eradicate slavery in one area, history demonstrates that a new slavery will be born in its place. That was just one of the profound insights offered in this detailed and well-constructed book. It is a fascinating thought-experiment to imagine how the world would have evolved without slaves since pretty much every mineral, wealth, and product has been (or currently is) a result of The revelation in this book about the unbreakable cycle of slavery in the world is disheartening, but vital. When you eradicate slavery in one area, history demonstrates that a new slavery will be born in its place. That was just one of the profound insights offered in this detailed and well-constructed book. It is a fascinating thought-experiment to imagine how the world would have evolved without slaves since pretty much every mineral, wealth, and product has been (or currently is) a result of slavery - including peonage. Also: I did not know the 13th amendment makes our current system of prison slavery legal. Much to think on.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    While an important part of Mexican and United States history, I found the book to be a bit dry at times. There is a lot of recitation of fact and not as much accounts that keep the reader engaged.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Garret Giblin

    very well written and researched account of the enslavement of indigenous peoples in the Americas. Resendez shows how institutions and practices of coerced labour adapted and survived over centuries and how, when combined with infectious diseases, they ultimately led to genocide

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Probably the best book on the subject out there but one should know a few things about what the author's central thesis is: 1) The definition of slavery is far too narrow. By the author's own admission the period of what we could call chattel slavery - the buying and selling of people, concomitant with the purchasing of their marginal value product, for the term of their life - occurred for a very short period toward the Native American population in the New World (the Spanish crown made it illeg Probably the best book on the subject out there but one should know a few things about what the author's central thesis is: 1) The definition of slavery is far too narrow. By the author's own admission the period of what we could call chattel slavery - the buying and selling of people, concomitant with the purchasing of their marginal value product, for the term of their life - occurred for a very short period toward the Native American population in the New World (the Spanish crown made it illegal by the mid-16th century). The author's central thesis is that many other forms of semi-free labor, such as debt peonage, war prisoners, and convict labor, done by Americans, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Native Americans alike, should fall into this category. 2) The economic dimension of indentured labor is wholly absent from the author's narrative - which is a shame, because it would have done wonders to help expand the reasoning. The book suffers from a lack of primary sources to work with and the author fills what is absent largely with speculation. The book itself is choppy - some chapters in it discuss slavery only tangentially (such as the histories of the Comanche and Navajo peoples). I think for a casual reader of history it would be very easy to get confused and to lose the bigger picture along the way.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    This is an important book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    N.

    If this book is to be believed, and I have no reason not to, it's extremely important. If this book is to be believed, and I have no reason not to, it's extremely important.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Dinaburg

    I spend a lot of time thinking about clichés. I worry that they shape experiences, a rigid form that alters the world to fit the saying. Still, they are such reliable old chestnuts and well-worn codas for a reason. When they break the surly bonds of exact meaning to stand for a lazy linguistic shortcut or in-group meme, the actual core and history behind such phrasings can be lost to the ether. Aside from the panoply of examples I have already thrown at your face, “she makes this look easy” is o I spend a lot of time thinking about clichés. I worry that they shape experiences, a rigid form that alters the world to fit the saying. Still, they are such reliable old chestnuts and well-worn codas for a reason. When they break the surly bonds of exact meaning to stand for a lazy linguistic shortcut or in-group meme, the actual core and history behind such phrasings can be lost to the ether. Aside from the panoply of examples I have already thrown at your face, “she makes this look easy” is one such idiom that came up during The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in American. For all intents and purposes (there’s another), “making this look easy” is an exclamatory way to profess admiration for someone’s extraordinary ability to complete a task, especially if they complete it with aplomb. Any focus on the task itself, rather than the skill of the subject, falls by the wayside. It is taken for granted that that task is a difficult one. But making something look easy is different from just being really, really good at it. The Other Slavery is not something I would colloquially say makes reading about indigenous slavery look easy, because reading comprehension typically doesn’t command the visual component as do the deft physical challenges usually associated with that idiom. But if you really parse the words, that is exactly what it does. It is startling after a few chapters just how much information has been conveyed. This was a topic where I came in with no prior knowledge. It would have been so easy to become overwhelmed by the breadth or bored with the depth, as often happens when an expert decides to flex his non-fiction bona fides. That does not happen here, and that alone is impressive. Put another way: this is a dense and sincerely troubling topic. The book takes it, makes it approachable without watering it down, and then does that over and over again for a half-dozen regions, eras, and cultures. Simple presentation mixes with disgusting fact:In the Carolinas, for instance, English colonists took tens of thousands of Indian slaves and shipped many of them to the Caribbean. In the period between 1670 and 1720, Carolinians exported more Indians out of Charleston, South Carolina, than they imported Africans into it.The Other Slavery makes difficult topics feel simple and reduces overwhelmingly complex ideas in approachable starting points. The pace of the narrative builds momentum until all of a sudden the book is over, native slavery in the Americas has made an indelible mark on your mind, and there is an overwhelming feeling that the author has made promulgating these facts look easy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mj Brodie

    This was an intense read, partly because I took extensive notes while reading it, but I'm very glad I found this book and read it. The insights I gained into the Native American genocide and the conditions of slavery that prevailed across what was Mexico and eventually became California, New Mexico, Utah and other frontier states are invaluable. This book exposes the complexity of the relationship between Native American communities and colonists early in American history. Successive laws were pa This was an intense read, partly because I took extensive notes while reading it, but I'm very glad I found this book and read it. The insights I gained into the Native American genocide and the conditions of slavery that prevailed across what was Mexico and eventually became California, New Mexico, Utah and other frontier states are invaluable. This book exposes the complexity of the relationship between Native American communities and colonists early in American history. Successive laws were passed by the Spanish Crown, the independent Mexican government and the US federal government to prevent the enslavement of Native people and yet somehow conditions of forced labor, child trafficking and terrible cruelty prevailed. It took centuries for the enslavement of Native Americans to end. What this book also accomplishes is a sober history of the settlement of the West. Resendez does not sentimentalize Native Americans, noting that some native communities had traditions of enslaving captives from war and the abduction of women and children for forced labor was common among some communities that lived nomadic lives e.g. the Comanche and Ute peoples. Other communities such as the Paiutes or Pomo people of California only wanted to live in peace but were swept up in conflicts beyond their control. The diversity of the Native American experience, from slave traders to the enslaved to peacemakers, is one of the central realizations of this book. In addition, the book sets the slavery of Native Americans in its proper historical context and notes that human trafficking and conditions of coercive labor continue to this day in many parts of the world.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Harvey Smith

    This is a fascinating book. Prior to reading it, I never thought much about slavery, except maybe black African slaves being enslaved for use in the New World, or eventually, the United States. The topic of slavery is mentioned from time to time in writings about ancient worlds. So, after emancipation, the new frontiers of the western U.S. couldn't exploit no cost/slave labor to make money, so the Aboriginal Americans were enslaved. Unfortunately the Emancipation Proclamation gave them absolutely This is a fascinating book. Prior to reading it, I never thought much about slavery, except maybe black African slaves being enslaved for use in the New World, or eventually, the United States. The topic of slavery is mentioned from time to time in writings about ancient worlds. So, after emancipation, the new frontiers of the western U.S. couldn't exploit no cost/slave labor to make money, so the Aboriginal Americans were enslaved. Unfortunately the Emancipation Proclamation gave them absolutely no protection or cover of law. They were exploited, and their plight was ignored. The bigger pattern to look at is that this same exploitation scenario has always gone on in human culture. and unfortunately, it still does in various places in the world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was really good and exhaustively researched and -- when I stopped posting my rage reactions to twitter every 5 seconds -- was a fairly quick read for such a large tome. But this history is so gross and so angrifying. Everything I learned about the colonization of the Americas was a lie, basically, except for names and dates. Glad I read it, but I'll also be glad to pick up something a bit lighter in tone. Note: the title implies that this work covers all of the Americas in detail, but it's p This was really good and exhaustively researched and -- when I stopped posting my rage reactions to twitter every 5 seconds -- was a fairly quick read for such a large tome. But this history is so gross and so angrifying. Everything I learned about the colonization of the Americas was a lie, basically, except for names and dates. Glad I read it, but I'll also be glad to pick up something a bit lighter in tone. Note: the title implies that this work covers all of the Americas in detail, but it's primarily focused on the Caribbean, Mexico, and the southern United States (Florida, New Mexico, California). There's extensive discussion of silver mining in Mexico, for example, but only a single mention of Potosí.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    I knew the term and definition of encomienda and thought that attempts of Native American enslavement was unsuccessful prior to reading this book, but gave little thought beyond that. Sadly, even though I teach history I never sought out much more information on the topic. Its sad to think such a dark chapter of history in the Americas lasted for such an immense span of time, and perhaps even sadder that it is discussed and known about so little. This book can be a bit heavy of on historical ter I knew the term and definition of encomienda and thought that attempts of Native American enslavement was unsuccessful prior to reading this book, but gave little thought beyond that. Sadly, even though I teach history I never sought out much more information on the topic. Its sad to think such a dark chapter of history in the Americas lasted for such an immense span of time, and perhaps even sadder that it is discussed and known about so little. This book can be a bit heavy of on historical terminology and seemingly very academic at times for people that are not huge history buffs, but still readable for all. I strongly encourage people to read this book for exploration on the topic.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ron Turner

    A great history of Native American slavery in North America. The low-level slavery that existed before European contact. Christopher Columbus and his enslavement of the Caribbean that set the precedent for the Spanish to enslave natives for the silver mines in Mexico and the missions of New Mexico. The experiences of frontier explorers, Mormon settlers and American government agents with native slaves in the West. It asks some important questions. How much of a role did slavery play in the declin A great history of Native American slavery in North America. The low-level slavery that existed before European contact. Christopher Columbus and his enslavement of the Caribbean that set the precedent for the Spanish to enslave natives for the silver mines in Mexico and the missions of New Mexico. The experiences of frontier explorers, Mormon settlers and American government agents with native slaves in the West. It asks some important questions. How much of a role did slavery play in the decline of the Native American population? And what is its legacy today, because one could easily argue that slavery continued well into the 20th century in Central America.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Myra

    In the back on my head, I knew that various native tribes took members of other tribes captive. And I knew that early explorers took natives back to Europe under the guise of discovery, but really as captives. Yet I had no idea how vast and organized the enslavement of Native Americans was. Literally to the extent that whole populations were basically exterminated. And this lasted for hundreds of year, up until far too recently. While this isn't a particularly captivating read, it is very inform In the back on my head, I knew that various native tribes took members of other tribes captive. And I knew that early explorers took natives back to Europe under the guise of discovery, but really as captives. Yet I had no idea how vast and organized the enslavement of Native Americans was. Literally to the extent that whole populations were basically exterminated. And this lasted for hundreds of year, up until far too recently. While this isn't a particularly captivating read, it is very informative and I am happy I read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Amazing book, heavily researched and documented but easy to read. The historical story of Indian enslavement in the Americas is eye-opening and offers important missing background to the development of the Caribbean, Latin America and the US Southwest. I was particularly moved by the chapters on New Mexico—especially a different view of the reasons for the 1680 Pueblo uprising—and the history of silver mining in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico as that explained things in my family genealogy. I highly Amazing book, heavily researched and documented but easy to read. The historical story of Indian enslavement in the Americas is eye-opening and offers important missing background to the development of the Caribbean, Latin America and the US Southwest. I was particularly moved by the chapters on New Mexico—especially a different view of the reasons for the 1680 Pueblo uprising—and the history of silver mining in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico as that explained things in my family genealogy. I highly recommend this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    wade

    Very few times do I read a book that uncovers virtually new uncharted data. This is the case here when Dr. Resendez delves into the widespread enslavement of Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere for over 400 years. It starts with Christopher Columbus and follows it to the American Southwest in the 1800's. The Spanish deserve the brunt of the blame but also other groups including Native Americans and the Latter Day Saints. A well written and tremendously researched award winning book. Very few times do I read a book that uncovers virtually new uncharted data. This is the case here when Dr. Resendez delves into the widespread enslavement of Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere for over 400 years. It starts with Christopher Columbus and follows it to the American Southwest in the 1800's. The Spanish deserve the brunt of the blame but also other groups including Native Americans and the Latter Day Saints. A well written and tremendously researched award winning book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Janette Mcmahon

    Disappointed as the title was a bit misleading. I expected more about Native American Slavery in the continental US. The author started with Columbus then to Mexico and finally to the Apaches, all of which as been written about ( and I have read before). I do feel the book was well researched and the writing fine, just not what I was hoping for.

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