My paper proposes to focus on the Indian slave trade in the colonial Southeast as a representative aspect of Anglo-Indian exchange relations generally. I am particularly interested in the years immediately preceding the Yamasee War against South Carolina, which erupted in 1715. The paper has two principal objectives in this regard.
First, the paper seeks to analyze the forms of communication and cooperative action that provided the foundations for intercultural exchange.This demands that Anglo-Indian "trade" be viewed not simply as an economic transaction or even as an exercise in cultural accommodation and adaptation but as a form of continuing dialogue or discourse. In a previous article, published in the South Carolina Historical Magazine, I have already argued that the Indian slave trade was conducted in two phases, thefirst under Native American control and the second under English control.I would like to explore the mechanics of that cooperative process in more detail in my proposed paper and, equally important, begin linking the discourse that shaped the slave trade to other aspects of Anglo-Indian exchange.
Second, the paper seeks to explore the aptness of current models for understanding Euro Indian relations in the South.Few southeastern scholars have attempted to apply Richard White's Middle Ground approach to the study of Euro-Indian exchange in the colonial South.Similarly, Daniel Usner's concept of a "Frontier Exchange Economy," developed in his groundbreaking work Indians, Settlers, and Slaves has not been widely used beyond the Mississippi Valley region.By analyzing the Indian slave trade as a form of discourse and sharpening our focus of Euro-Indian interaction, the proposed paper hopes to re-examine the vocabulary of historical discourse as well.