Between 1669 and 1686, René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle undertook several expeditions in North America. During his journeys, he relied on the services of numerous individuals who were under his control. Some were Indian slaves whom he exchanged like chattel during cross-cultural negotiations while other enslaved natives worked as guides, hunters, and interpreters. His European companions were also enmeshed in unequal relationships that ranged from contracted voyageurs to donnés who labored for Catholic missionaries. This article employs the records left by those who traveled with La Salle to reconstruct the varieties of bondage that they encountered in the heart of the continent.

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