Early travelers to the American West encountered unfree people nearly everywhere they went: on ranches and farmsteads, in mines and private homes, and even on the open market, bartered like any other tradable good.
Unlike on southern plantations, these men, women, and children weren’t primarily African American; most were Native American. Tens of thousands of Indigenous people labored in bondage across the western United States in the mid-19th century.
Despite the debilitating and long-lasting effects on numerous Native communities, the bondage of Indigenous people has largely escaped the ongoing dialogue about American slavery and its legacies. Perhaps that’s because Native American bondage took various forms—convict leasing, debt peonage, child servitude, captive trading—making it difficult to classify, especially when compared with the multigenerational and brutally systematized chattel slavery of the South.
Evidence of Indigenous slavery is harder to find too. Many Native people worked behind closed doors on remote frontiers rather than on large plantations under the full glare of the southern sun.
For the rest of this article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/11/native-americans-indigenous-slavery-west/620785/