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Module 36

Unfreedom in Early Canada: Race, Empire and Slavery

Jarrett Henderson

This module illustrates that both Black and Indigenous people lived lives of unfreedom in, and along, the empire of the St. Lawrence prior to the 19th century. To do so, it introduces students to the varied and often ignored history of slavery in northeastern North America. The documents, images, and articles selected allow students to interrogate the social and political complexities of race, slavery, and empire on the Indigenous lands that became early Canada.

Primary sources:

1. Photograph: Aboriginal Slave Halter
2. Photograph: French Slave Shackles
3. Image: “The Cruelty of the Savage Iroquois”
4. Text: Father Hennepin’s writing on Indigenous Slavery
5. Text: he “Code Noir” (1685)
6. Text: “Like Negroes of the Islands”
7. Text: Purchasing People
8. Text: Freedom before Abolition

Secondary sources:

1. Brett Rushforth, “I Make Him My Dog/ My Slave,” Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012): 35-51; 70-71.
2. Robin Winks, “Slavery in New France,” in Blacks in Canada: A History, Second Edition, (Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000): 3-9.
3. Kenneth Donovan, “Slaves in Ile Royale,” French Colonial History, Volume 5 (2004): 25-42.

Introduction

List of Modules -- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50