Alt text: Several Native Americans, mostly women and children, huddle around a cooking fire under a canopy made from logs, inside the fences of a settlement.
Enslavement of Native Americans, revealed in an award-winning book by UC Davis historian Andrés Reséndez, is the focus of a Smithsonian symposium that features him as a speaker. This illustration, from an 1852 report on a U.S. Army survey of the Great Salt Lake, depicts Ute people captured by settlers. (Courtesy of HathiTrust)

UC Davis Historian’s Book ‘The Other Slavery’ Inspires Smithsonian Symposium

The Smithsonian Institution will center a virtual symposium this month around groundbreaking research by UC Davis history professor Andrés Reséndez on the enslavement of Native Americans.

The symposium, The Other Slavery: Histories of Indian Bondage from New Spain to the Southwestern United States, features a talk and an eight-page background paper by Reséndez, author of the award-winning history The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America.

The event is free. All sessions and performances will be available on demand beginning Sept. 23 at 9:01 p.m. PDT through Sept. 27 at 8:59 p.m. PDT on the National Museum of the American Indian’s website.

Reséndez’s 2016 history The Other Slavery is the first comprehensive treatment of Native American enslavement from the time of Columbus to 1900. It was a finalist for a 2016 National Book Award, and won a 2017 California Book Award and a 2017 Bancroft Prize.

He estimates that 2.5 million to 5 million Native people were enslaved during the four centuries between the arrival of Columbus and the beginning of the 20th century.

The symposium brings together experts from a range of academic disciplines, including Indigenous studies, anthropology and history, to examine little-known stories of coerced labor and peonage and the long-term impact of Indian slavery. Panelists will discuss the legacies of Native American enslavement with Indigenous community leaders and cultural workers.

Reséndez will be one of four scholars in the opening session, “Global and National Contexts of Indian Bondage.”

— Kathleen Holder, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science

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