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Pacific Northwest Coastal Indians - Slaves Illustration

Slaves
Pacific Northwest Coastal Indians
in Olden Times for Kids

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Slaves: In olden times, slaves were obtained by war, purchase, and debt. If you owned someone money, you could pay them by becoming their slave until the debt was paid.

Slaves, however they were obtained, did not have an easy life. Slaves were not allowed to marry. If they were already married, the marriage was annulled. Slaves had no rights. They were property.

A slave could be sacrificed at a potlatch. This was done to prove that the clan was so wealthy that they could destroy a slave or a canoe or even a house without missing it.

Debts had to be paid. Sometimes it was smarter to lose face, so you could come back and restore your dignity another day.