"When Doll was captured or purchased by Shoe Boots in the late 1700s, Black slavery in Cherokee territory was newly germinating. Cherokees had been aware of Africans at least since the sixteenth century when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto beached in the Americas, carrying in tow West Indian and African slaves. The slaves from De Soto’s expedition (1540) and explorer Juan Pardo’s travels (1657), and possibly runaway slaves from the Spanish Colony on Peedee River (1526), were likely the first Africans that Cherokees encountered. The earliest forms of Cherokee and African relations were identification and interdependence. As British settlers planted their first colonies in Virginia and South Carolina, they enslaved Indians as well as Africans to increase their labor pool and to weaken those neighboring Indian groups that they viewed as political and military adversaries. The practice of enslaving Indians (mainly women) alongside Africans (mainly men) brought members of both groups into intimate proximity. A joining of family through intermarriage and a fusion of cultural ways resulted. African folktales featuring a trickster rabbit combined with southeastern Native tales about the same hero; African medicinal practices became enmeshed with Native knowledge about the uses of indigenous plants; African women’s basketry patterns were woven into Native women’s crafts; and corn, the staple of the southeastern Indian diet, became a signature ingredient of what we now call “soul food.” African people and Indian people, including many Cherokees, shared the same lot for nearly a century. The bonds they developed persisted throughout the early 1700s, a period when Black slaves were traded to the West Indies to prevent the likelihood of their escape."
- Tiya Miles, Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family In Slavery and Freedom, p. 28-29 (via a-lostbird)
(Source: ucpress.edu, via worsethanqueer)