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Slavery in the Cherokee Nation and the Freedmen Controversy

As the tribes fell into the slavery rotation, they began raiding other tribes in order to capture slaves to sell for profit to the Europeans (Davis). Some of these tribes held war captives as slaves both before and after the arrival of the Europeans. Some were captured and sold to Europeans and suffered under chattel slavery. Even though most Native American tribes held prisoners of war captive, there were some circumstances in which growth of a tribe was threatened, resulting in the capturing of mostly women and children as sort of an "adoption" strategy (Davis). Each time these events occurred, captives were killed until the tribe was satisfied, leaving the rest to be adopted as new members. .
             Soon, Europeans and Native Americans were at arms almost constantly. Whenever whites were captured, they were either tortured and killed or adopted into a tribe, just like Native American captives. Obviously, Native Americans were captured by the Europeans and were sold into slavery. However, "Soon after the colonization of the southeastern part of the country, the Creeks, Seminoles, Cherokees, Choctaws, and others came into possession of runaway slaves (Davis)." Native Americans quickly learned just how valuable these African American slaves were and began selling and trading them amongst their own tribes. Although African American slaves were now introduced to Native American communities, they still used their own prisoners of war as slaves as well. The very first Cherokee to own an African American slave was Nancy Ward. She was known as the "Beloved Woman" of the Wolf clan. Her husband was killed during a war with the Muskogees and she fell in, took his place, and finished out the war with his weapon. .
             Although Native American tribes practiced some form of slavery before the introduction of African slavery in North America, none exploited slave labor on a large scale (Gilio-Whitaker).

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