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Slave owners appealing the court’s decisions to free their slaves shared their understandings and experiences of slaving practices. In the locus of the courtroom, they articulated clear ideas about the meaning of “natural” slavery and the practices of just war, ransom (rescate), and cannibalism. They read the past from the vantage point of five, ten, or even twenty years after the moment of capture. Indigenous slaves responded to these charges by expressing their understandings of these legal categories in relation to their own versions of the past.

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