Enslaved Native Americans in Bermuda

The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) presented a joint lecture on the 17th century Indian Slave Trade with Dr. Linford Fisher, Associate Professor of History at Brown University, and St. Clair “Brinky” Tucker. The Bermudian Heartbeats Series highlights the island’s rich historical and cultural heritage. Click here for an 86-minute YouTube video of the February 17, 2023 presentation.

Dr. Fisher is the principal investigator of the Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas project, which is a tribal community-centered collaborative project that seeks to create a public, centralized database of Native slavery throughout the Americas and across time. Mr. Tucker is the author of St. David’s Island, Bermuda: Its History, People and Culture.

All three maps on this page are from Dr. Fisher’s lecture and detail the movement of enslaved Native Americans into the Caribbean and Bermuda. One of those enslaved Natives was Tisquantum (Squanto) who was kidnapped from Patuxet in 1614, sold into slavery in Spain, and eventually returned to find that everyone had died from a plague. He then assisted the Massasoit Ousamequin to meet with the Pilgrims in 1621 to establish a treaty of cooperation.

Enslaved Native people were taken to a variety of locations throughout the Caribbean, the Azores, Spain and Morocco. Some enslaved Natives were used to dive for pearls along with other work they were made to perform.

Click here for a 2019 lecture on Native American Slavery given by Dr. Fisher at Smith’s Castle in Rhode Island..