HOW WERE CAPTIVES TREATED BY NATIVE AMERICANS? How Were Captives Treated By Native Americans? The Native Americans used to take European and Africans as their captives. It was a normal practice to turn these captives into slaves. This culture was greatly followed by the Mississippian people where the captured prisoners of war, who were not killed, were taken into enslavement. These slaves were put to work by the captors. However, if some captive slaves proved their loyalty and hard work, they were also sometimes adopted by families and given an almost equal status. Captives who were females mostly became second wives of the captors and used to perform the household chores for their captor husbands.1
Long before the Europeans started the ritual of slavery, Native Americans showed some cases of slavery where captives were enslaved. However, the enslavement practices of Native Americans were quite different from the European practices. The Native Americans did not treat their slaves as inferior creatures. The Native American culture allowed the slaves to acquire freedom through various options. As already mentioned they could either get adopted in the family or else they could free themselves through marriage, in cases of death of their masters or by performing any particular service that provided them freedom from the captor. 2 Not all captives were taken into enslavement. they were also tortured under different conditions. There was also a culture of killing the captives or selling them to the enemies for personal benefits by the Native Americans. A sect of Native Americans had beliefs that captives should be treated according to their bravery and courage in the war. If the captive was brave then he earned the respect of the captors. Some captives were sold in exchange for new weapons, food, clothing and other needed items when the Native Americans were in dire need of new weapons and goods at that time.3
Kessel, Wooster. Encyclopedia of Native American War and Warfare. New York, NY : Facts on File .2005.
Rodriguez. The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery. Santa Barbara, California : ABC-CLIO. 1997.
Tucker, Arnold, Weiner. The encyclopedia of North American Indian wars, 1607-1890 : a political, social, and military history. Santa Barbara, California : ABC-CLIO. 2011.