chapter  4
African Americans in Maroon and Creek Country
ByHelen M. McKee
Pages 22

In keeping with the examination of interactions with African-descended peoples, Chapter 4 addresses the notion of slave ownership and the personal relationships formed with enslaved peoples. This chapter demonstrates how both Maroons and Creeks “owned” slaves but questions exactly what this entailed. It argues that the type of slavery found in Maroon and Creek towns was, largely, family-based and small-scaled, in keeping with the traditions of the Asante kingdom and of Creek traditional slavery. As time passed, European influences caused certain individuals to view slaves in economic terms; but this co-existed with, rather than overtook, traditional practices. Interestingly, the practice of slave ownership was used to criticise Maroons and Creeks in different ways. In Jamaica, Maroons were legally disqualified from owning slaves but, by doing so regardless, demonstrated an act of resistance against British control. In the United States, Creeks were criticised for not owning enough slaves given the encouragement by federal officials for Creeks to adopt large-scale slavery. Such occurrences, however, did not prevent other individuals from forming personal and/or sexual relationships with slaves. These interpersonal relationships represented an act of resistance against the white governments which tried to implement policies of divide and rule, but they also highlight a whole web of interactions, distinct from the European world, occurring in these regions.