PSTC Researcher Recovers Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas

September 15, 2022

Associate Professor of History Linford Fisher has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to investigate and document Indigenous enslavement in the Americas between 1492 and 1900 and its impact on Indigenous people, families, and nations.

’Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas’ began as an academic project that hoped to centralize research on Indigenous slavery in the Americas,” Dr. Linford explains. “But it has since morphed into a tribal community collaborative project that works with official representatives from 13 Indigenous nations and communities in southern Rhode Island, whose involvement has been vital for reframing the project as a way to understand the long-term effects of settler colonialism through an Indigenous perspective.”

The NEH award is specifically focused on Digital Humanities Advancement, and it provides the project team an opportunity to expand their collaborative work and launch a public portal that will allow others to access archival documents that would otherwise be difficult to find and read. This tribal collaborative database project seeks to understand settler colonialism and its impact through the lens of Indigenous enslavement and will be further enhanced with supplemental aids that help to contextualize and decolonize the archival information and documents from Indigenous perspectives.

“The NEH grant will allow us to increase these tribal collaborations and to have a professionally designed program website and search interface for the database. It is our hope that it will serve as an important resource for tribes, researchers, educators, and the wider public when it launches in 2023/24,” says Professor Linford.