'The Other Slavery' By Andrés Reséndez Explores The Widespread Damage of Colonial Enslavement of Native Peoples
UC Davis professor and author Andrés Reséndez has recently published The Other Slavery, a non-fiction account of colonial enslavement of Indigenous peoples in the Americas and the widespread damage it inflicted on Native populations:
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.
Genevieve Valentine reviewed The Other Slavery at NPR:
The Other Slavery is a necessary work that occupies a loaded historical landscape; Reséndez keeps a deliberate scholarly distance from the material, bringing forth evidence and constructing careful — even conservative — arguments. But that evidence speaks for itself, and the horrors quietly pile up. The enslavement of communities from North America and the Caribbean broke down entire nations, and irreparably erased cultural and political ecosystems. American schoolchildren are taught that smallpox was the epidemic that gutted Native American populations after exposure to Europeans; an illness to which they had no immunity ravaged their numbers. Reséndez suggests nothing less than that the epidemic was actually the Europeans themselves.
Reséndez is a Mexican author who has written two other books–Changing National Identities at the Frontier and A Land So Strange. He focuses his research on the "exploration of the Americas, colonization, the construction of ethnic and national identities in North America, borderlands, and Mexico’s history among others." The book should give important insight into the history between Indigenous people and European colonizers and reframe conversations concerning Indian slavery–both as slave and master–and the decimation of Native peoples.
Buy The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, from your favorite Indie bookseller.
And read the rest of Valentine's review of the book at NPR.