Abstract

In 1731 a French army in colonial Louisiana enslaved hundreds of Natchez families and shipped them to Saint-Domingue where they mostly disappear from the written records. This article analyzes tantalizing clues about Natchez families and other Native American slaves on the island during the eighteenth century. By examining slave runaway advertisements, rather than the official records of colonial administrators, it becomes clear that there were hundreds, if not thousands of slaves with Native American ancestry in Saint-Domingue by 1791. Neither the violence of slavery nor the violence of the archive itself can erase the tenacious survival of Natchez people and other Native Americans on the island. In addition to theorizing about the experiences of Natchez slaves, this article suggests that historians can no longer discount the contributions and experiences of Native American people to the history of Saint-Domingue and to the creation of Haiti.

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