The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

by Andrés Reséndez

Hardcover, 2016

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2016]

Description

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 Andrâes Resâendez illuminates, 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. Resâendez builds the 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 to see truly.--Adapted from dust jacket.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Darcia
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.
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LibraryThing member muddyboy
Very few times do I read a book that opens up new and 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 to the American Southwest in the 1800's. The Spanish deserve the brunt of the blame but other groups including Native Americans themselves and the Latter Day Saints get involved. A well written and tremendously well researched award winning book.… (more)
LibraryThing member octafoil40
While I have read many books touching on the history of Slavery and had come to the conclusion that I knew all there was on the subject, this book has shown otherwise! This is a great book which all should read.
Until I read this book I thought I knew all about this subject, having studied
the historical slavery issues one Rome, Greece, Africa, Mexico, South America, and the American Southern States Slavery. But this book concentration on slavery as it ultimately spread to Western American. While I had purchased this book a long time ago and had let it sit on the shelf, I am so happy to have found the time to read this illuminateing treatment on the subject of Slavery in the U.S. West and Southwest.… (more)

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