The concept:

The Database of Indigenous Slavery in the Americas (DISA), is a database that seeks to document as many instances of indigenous enslavement in the Americas between 1492 and 1900 (and beyond, where relevant). The hemispheric study of Native American slavery represents cutting-edge research in multi-lingual and multi-national contexts in the Americas. Scholars now estimate that between 2.5 and 5 million Natives were enslaved in the Americas between 1492 and the late nineteenth century – an astonishing number by any measure (even compared to the approximately 12 million Africans who were brought as slaves from Africa in this same time period). DISA will allow researchers to lift names off of the pages of dusty books and put them out into the wider online world where other thousands of historians, researchers, students, tribal members, and families can use the information to reconstruct histories, chart networks, and make connections in ways that have never before been possible.


We are currently applying for larger grants and hope to have a public-facing prototype in the summer of 2018.

How to contribute:

In this early phase, the database is not yet public. While we are working on funding, a small team of researchers is slowly adding to the database. We are looking to partner with individuals and institutions who are willing to send materials they have or join our research team to input materials directly. Please contact linford_fisher@brown.edu to learn more.