ANV Teaching Resources > Lesson PlanIndian Slave Trade


Topic: Native Slavery in the Carolinas
Grade Level: 8th
“Trial of Lawson and Graffenried by the Yamasee” drawn by Baron von Graffenried, 1712.


What was the significance of the Indian Slave Trade to Indigenous-European relations? In this lesson, students will work in teams to analyze primary and secondary sources to understand Native Slavery in the Carolinas and what resistance looks like.

Image caption: “Trial of Lawson and Graffenried by the Yamasee” drawn by Baron von Graffenried, 1712.

Learning Objective

Given a graphic organizer, students will analyze primary sources, in order to examine the Indian Slave Trade.
What does resistance look like?
Who benefitted from the Indian Slave Trade? What was the significance of the Indian Slave Trade to Indigenous-European relations? Why was the Indian Slave Trade ultimately unsuccessful?

8th grade: I., 8.B., 8.C&G., 8.E.1.2, 8.G., 8.H. (see


Graphic organizer, primary and secondary sources for analysis

Lesson may use digital platforms such as google Jamboard, Canvas, or Nearpod, but not required. map

Key Concepts (e.g., main ideas, important understandings)
Slave trade was ubiquitous in the colonial era and became increasingly racialized unlike previous periods in history. Conflict creates both costs and benefits, no all “wins” are a win. Indian Slave Trade deeply connected to depopulation in the Carolinas and cross-tribal organization.
Key Vocabulary (important vocabulary, academic language)
Political power, Colonizer, Racialization, Resistance, Power broker
Key Content (e.g., Events/People/Places)
Yamasee War, Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Cherokee, Creek, Depopulation, Forced movement of people and its impact

Teaching Method: Partial Jigsaw

Teaching Procedures
Instructional Strategies: small group organization, primary and secondary source analysis with graphic organizer
Introductory Activity: As a bell ringer, students should be shown the two tables of data on Indian Slavery and asked to discuss in their teams what this data tells them about the relationships between English settlers and Indigenous people in the Carolinas in the early 1700’s. After a debrief conversation, introduce the question of resistance, and have students define what the word means to them. Record student responses on the board. Next, tell students they will be looking at a set of documents to help them answer the question “What does resistance look like?”


Students should be organized in groups of no more than five depending on class size.
  1. Expert Groups: Organize students into 5 groups (students should be evenly distributed across each group to the greatest extent possible and should not exceed the number of sources being used). Each group is ordinal numbered to correspond with the ordinal number of their sources and will receive a specific source to analyze in depth.
  • Source 1/Group 1: Excerpts from the primary source “Indian Trade Commissioners Journal, 1716-1718”
  • Source 2/Group 2: Primary Source Map of the Carolinas by Thomas Nairne
  • Source 3/Group 3: Summary of work by Historian Alan Gallay
  • Source 4/Group 4: Yamasee War Image A, Trial of Lawson & primary source excerpt, Execution of Nairne
  • Source 5/Group 5: Yamasee War Image B, Yamasee War as illustrated in a Dutch magazine, 1715
  1. Provide each Expert group with their specific source and instruct them to work as a team to complete the information for their source on the graphic organizer to the best of their ability. Each group should complete only the information for their specific source at this time. Their goal is to become an “expert” on their specific source.
  2. Once each Expert group has completed their row, or their part of the graphic organizer, the teacher can ask students in a whole class discussion some additional probing questions such as: Which question was most difficult for your group to answer? What information was missing from your source that you would like to have? What additional questions did this source raise for you?
  3. Teaching groups: Reorganize students into new groups that consist of an “expert” for each source (to the greatest extent possible). For example, the teacher can label the teaching groups by letters (e.g., A, B, C, D, E, F). One member from each expert group should be in the new group (e.g., A=1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Note: If there are uneven numbers where an “expert” is missing, groups may be reorganized as needed or experts for that source may need to be shared between groups.
  4. Each “expert” in the Teaching group presents the information on their source. As the “expert” presents the other students in the groups should be taking notes on the graphic organizer as directed.
  5. Once all “experts” have presented, bring students back together for whole class discussion and deliberation.
  6. Whole group Discussion & Deliberation: Teacher leads whole group debrief discussion. Students should base their responses on the sources provided and cite evidence from the sources.
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