The concept:

The Database of Indigenous Slavery in the Americas (DISA), is a community-centered database project 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 10.5 -12 million Africans who were brought as slaves from Africa in this same time period). DISA will allow the slow centralization of biographical information related to enslaved indigenous people and place them online where 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 2021.

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 D. Fisher to learn more.


DISA has been generously funded and supported by the following entities:

Population Studies and Training Center, Brown University

Social Sciences Research Institute, Brown University

Office of the Vice President for Research, Brown University

Center for Digital Scholarship, Brown University Library