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The Urban American Indian Collective- FIND YOUR TRIBE!

Unveiling the Intertwined Legacy: The Hidden Chapters of Southern Colonies Indigenous Negro Slaves

In the annals of history, a clandestine tale unfolds—a narrative where the boundaries of identity blurred in the shadows of slavery's raced-based confines. Within the Southern colonies, an intriguing convergence transpired between indigenous tribes and African slaves, reshaping the very essence of identity. In the echoes of history lies a lesser-known tale, one where the threads of indigenous tribes and African descent interweave, creating a tapestry of identity far richer and more complex than commonly portrayed.



Unveiling this narrative reveals a surprising reality: during the era preceding the American Revolution, the southern colonies silently bore witness to a convergence of destinies. Little is known that alongside enslaved Africans, indigenous people toiled in the fields, their stories entwined in the fabric of servitude and labor. The very land where their forebears once roamed freely now bound them in shared struggle and hardship.

The Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology unravels a lesser-known chapter: the coexistence of Indian slaves alongside African slaves. This revelation challenges conventional narratives, underscoring the obscured presence of indigenous individuals whose appearance allowed them to blend within the enslaved African community. What the Smithonian Institution poorly states is the appearance of the coastal tribes themselves. Majority of them especially in the Carolinas were previously described as negroes themselves. As noted in the congressional records:

A poorly stated attempt at European racist to describe darker skinned Indigenous Americans as African just speak to the Europeans' small world view at them time. As they had only encountered the Moors who civilized them and the Africans they enslaved. The hadn't "discovered" the global melaninated presence as of yet.


At the heart of this convergence lay a curious semblance—an appearance that bridged the divide between indigenous American and indigenous African identities. These Indian slaves, with features that might have defied the stark racial categories of the time, found themselves laboring side by side with their African counterparts. Their shared toil in the fields echoed the shared struggles, forging a bond that transcended the lines of race, yet paradoxically embedded within it. When it was all said and done everyone was left to shed the labels of Black, Negro, Colored and Mulatto like a snake shed its skin to find one's indigenous origins.


As coastal tribes diminished, the dynamics shifted. Compelled by circumstances, indigenous individuals were in associations and intermarriages with African descendants. Their physical appearance, perhaps less distinctively aligned with mainstream stereotypes of indigenous identity, facilitated this integration, ultimately leading to the loss of their tribal identity within the broader spectrum of African heritage. Later European attempt to assimilated these into indigenous cultures by way of television and film laid the foundational for them to later highjack this narrow and insert themselves but the image of indigenous americans altogether. Using Italian and other European actors in black/brown face to mold the indigenous American image into their own likeness.


This blurred line of identity challenges the traditional notions of racial categorization prevalent during the era of slavery. It underscores the complexity of human appearance, the nuances of assimilation, and the intriguing yet often overlooked stories of those who traversed between racial boundaries.


The fusion of these identities both (Indian & African)indigenous remains a testament to the malleability of human heritage, where physical attributes intertwined, reshaping the narrative of enslaved individuals. It reveals a hidden layer within the fabric of history, a layer where the appearance of indigenous individuals facilitated a subtle assimilation into the enslaved community.


In acknowledging this narrative, we confront the intricacies of identity forged within the confines of slavery. It prompts reflection on the varied appearances and the overlooked individuals whose blending within the enslaved community defied the rigidity of racial distinctions, leaving an indelible mark on the intricate tapestry of American history.


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