Nancy E. van Deusen is Professor of History at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She is the author of
Crossing the Atlantic and Entering Households
This chapter considers how and why indios, many of them children, became commodities and crossed the Atlantic to Castile; how we can access their voices in documents; and how, by the time that slaves told their tales of forced migration to the courts, they already embodied the slave-raiding practices and forced inter-American diasporas experienced by previous generations. It also examines the cultural placement of slaves into the households of their Castilian masters, arguing that the label indio acquired meaning in relation to masters with their own sets of expectations and in relation to other members of the household, other people in bondage, and in Castilian communities at large. In the dismantling of these patriarchal ties—based on the twin issues of intimacy and violence—we can understand the circumstances that led to indigenous slaves formalizing pent-up grievances against masters in Castilian courtrooms.