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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

From the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, thousands of indigenous peoples from a spectrum of cultures embarked, voluntarily and involuntarily, on journeys from their homelands in the continental Americas to the Caribbean: as traders, refugees, immigrants, laborers, and as slaves. Cuba became the principal destination for a massive influx of indigenous peoples from New Spain and, later, the independent republic of Mexico. This chapter explores the fluid, multidimensional dynamic of diasporic indigenous peoples in their attempts to negotiate an existence in a territory to which they were forcibly relocated. It examines the historical, social, political, and intercultural development of forced indigenous labor in Cuba along with the complex and nuanced ways in which freedom and bondage overlapped. It investigates contending spheres of power encompassing states, settler populations, and indigenous and other subaltern peoples to discuss the implications of this Caribbean borderlands dynamic in the context of transitional zones and transculturation.

Keywords: indigenous labor, bondage, Cuba, Caribbean borderlands, slavery, diaspora.

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