Indian – Colonial Relations in Laws and Official Documents

Introduction

From the earliest days of exploration and settlement, relations between Native American peoples and Europeans have been complicated. Bacon’s Laws of Maryland are probably the most complex laws, regulating the economic and social interactions with the Natives. While the Bacon’s Laws show the official rules for contact, documents from the General Assembly and the Council of Maryland mirrors the reality in the colony. These documents contain letters, court proceedings and depositions of witnesses and people accused of various charges. The following document package offers a small example of the documents housed in the Maryland State Archives, which are also available at Archives of Maryland Online.



National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standard for Grades K-4:

Topic 2: The History of Students’ Own State or Region 

STANDARD 3: The people, events, problems, and ideas that created the history of their state. 

Standard 3B: The student understands the history of the first European, African, and/or Asian-Pacific explorers and settlers who came to his or her state or region. 

K-4: Examine visual data in order to describe ways in which early settlers adapted to, utilized, and changed the environment. [Draw upon visual data]
3-4: Analyze some of the interactions that occurred between the Native Americans or Hawaiians and the first Europeans, Africans, and Asian-Pacific explorers and settlers in the students’ state or region. [Read historical narratives imaginatively]
K-4: Use variety of sources to construct a historical narrative about daily life in the early settlements of the student’s state or region [Obtain historical data]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Native Lands
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 
    SOURCE: Bacon’s Laws of Maryland, 1704 – 1756. In Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  2. DESCRIPTION: Natives and War
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1715
    NOTE: In the Bacon’s Laws section on Militia, paragraphs 7 and 9 discuss the procedures in case of war with the Natives, page 687.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  3. DESCRIPTION: Natives and Alcohol
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Bacon’s Laws of Maryland, June 3, 1715.
    NOTES: Bacon’s Laws, Chapter XVI, pages 211 – 112.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  4. DESCRIPTION: Natives and Slavery
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Bacon’s Laws of Maryland, 1715.
    NOTE:  Prohibition on selling “friendly Indians,” Bacon’s Laws, Chapter XVI, page 112, paragraph VI.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  5. DESCRIPTION: The French and Indian War
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Bacon’s Laws of Maryland, May 22,1756.
    NOTE: Restrictions on the free movement of the Natives as well as demand of lists of Native names from near by towns in order to discover French spies. Bacon’s Laws, Chapter XIII, pages 558 – 559.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  6. DESCRIPTION: Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, 1682
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  April – May 1682
    NOTE:
    A decision to support Maryland Natives in their war with “Northern Indians” by supplying them with arms and ammunition. Assembly proceedings April / May 1682, pages 270 – 271.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  7. DESCRIPTION:  Deposition of Jacob Young
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, October – November 1682.
    NOTE: Jacob Young, an interpreter, was accused of several charges, including living with the Susquehannah Nation and fathering children among them and supporting the Northern Indians in their war temper. Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, pages 386 – 392.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  8. DESCRIPTION: Proposition to the Maekander Indians and their answer
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1682, pages 210 – 216.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  9. DESCRIPTION: Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1742
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1732 - 1753
    NOTE: Examination of Natives held captive for suspicion of “conspiracy to do mischief,” pages 259 – 270.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  10. DESCRIPTION: Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1753 - 1761
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1759
    NOTE: The Petition of the Natives of Nanticoke Town in Dorchester County, pages 353 – 354.
    SOURCE: Maryland Archives Online
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

See also: 

Additional Media Resources

Maryland's First Capital: Discovering a Lost City. From Maryland With Pride (Pride of Baltimore)

Maryland Indians: A Day in the Life of..... From Maryland With Pride (Pride of Baltimore)

After Columbus: Four-hundred Years of Native American Portraiture

Additional Instructional Resources

NARA - Indians/Native Americans

We Were Here First (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 ) Exploring the Indigenous Peoples of the United States. From New York Times on the Web Learning Network.

Secondary Resources

Breen, T. H. Colonial America in an Atlantic World: A Story of Creative Interaction New York: Pearson Longman, 2004.

Bridenbaugh, Carl. Early Americans New York: Oxford University Press, 1981. 

Hinderaker, Eric. At the Edge of Empire: the Backcountry in British North America Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. 

Jaycox, Faith. The Colonial Era: An Eyewitness History New York: Facts on File, 2002. 

Stuart, Charles. Liberia, or, The American Colonization Scheme Examined and Exposed a Full and Authentic Report of a Lecture Delivered by C. Stuart, Esq., At a Public Meeting in ... Glasgow, 15th April 1833 Glasgow: W.R. M'Phun, & G. Gallie, 1833. 

Taylor, Alan. American Colonies: The Settling of North America to 1800 New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc. 2001.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

National Museum of the American Indian
4th Street and Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20024
Phone: 202-357-2700
National Museum of Natural History
Native Cultures of the Americas exhibition
First Floor Exhibit Halls
10th Street and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20560
Phone: 202-357-2700

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Lucie Kyrova.

 

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