Tituba Was Indian

Something that I learned a long time ago is you must be careful what history books you read. I learned this while I was homeschooled. There are history books that are filled with lies, and there are ones that have only a few lies in them. As a teenager and now, as an adult, I’m careful what history books I read and as always, I seek the truth in all things.

Now, with that being said, the Salem Witch Trials have always interested me. I’ve read so much about them and even went to Salem, Massachusetts when I was 17. While in Salem, I went on different tours and that includes the tour at the Salem Witch Museum, where they told the history of Salem.

During their presentation of Salem’s history, they talked of Tituba, who as you know, is part of Salem’s history. She was a slave and accused of being a witch because she practiced witchcraft (which in history books now, say that she practiced voodoo) and taught this to the children. Tituba taught the children fortune-telling games. The game she taught was how to use egg whites to tell who your future husband would be. This has been described as voodoo. However, it is actually European in its origin. There are a few different games in which young girls played to find out who their future husbands would be.

And as for the museum, as well as a number of books I’ve read (plus articles online), describe the game as being a part of voodoo practices. And Tituba is always described as African. Even when I was at the Salem Witch Museum, they said that Tituba was an African woman and everything that I’ve read about Salem said this as well. I never questioned this when I was a teenager, as I knew that Africans were slaves in those times. What was never taught in my school books is that many Natives and Whites were slaves as well.

And even though I know that now from my own studying, I never thought that Tituba might not be African.

The other night I was looking through lists on Goodreads for books about Salems, fiction and non-fictions, one I hadn’t read yet. There were only a few lists on Goodreads for books about Salem, so I went to Amazon and looked through their lists which users made.

I found a book called Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies. I clicked on the book to read its description and upon reading its description, I find out that Tituba is Native!

I quickly did a google search and while there were some sites that describe her as African, others say she is Indian, not African like it was commonly believed. And through my research, I find out that even in documents by the Puritans, they say she is Indian. However, it seems, over time she went from being Indian to African and the European fortune-telling games became connected to voodoo somehow.

While I was happy to find out this new piece of information, I couldn’t help, but feel disappointment as well. I’m disappointed in this and everything else that is taught as history, but isn’t true. Why lie about history? Why not tell the truth that Tituba was Native? That the fortune-telling games are actually European in origin? Why not say that Natives and Whites were slaves as well? I don’t see the harm in any of this because knowing the truth is important.

I am also disappointed that the Salem Witch Museum even teaches people that Tituba was African. Shouldn’t they know Salem’s true history?

I thought I would share this as I think people should know the truth. And I shall end this by saying, when studying any history, really do your research and always seek the truth.


6 responses to “Tituba Was Indian

  1. This is interesting. Thank you for sharing it. And for the important reminder that we can’t believe everything we hear or read. We must investigate. And we must always seek the truth.

    This is so important in history. Also, so important in the lives of people currently living. I’m amazed how many people believe stuff they hear from other people without asking the source to see what is the truth.

    Such is humanity, I guess.

    HUGS and this was a good post!!!


    • Thanks and thanks for the like.

      I think it is always important to do research and find out the truth. I’m also amazed by how many people will believe what they read or hear. It just seems that not many people want to do their own research and find what is really true.


  2. I long ago realized that almost everything taught as history has been edited, revised, deleted or flat-out fabricated.

    You’re right, it doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference from a historical standpoint why someone would change her from being Native to African, or change the activity from European to Voodoo.

    I’d like to suspect it was pure ignorance. Someone saw ‘slave’ and assumed African, saw ‘witchcraft’ and from African extrapolated to Voodoo, but I’ve become too jaded to think to think it was accidental ignorance.

    But you’re very right, blacks weren’t the only slaves in the US, pre or post 1776. Another thing often left out of history books is that some Natives also had black slaves. Heck, some free *blacks* had black slaves.

    So it seems to me that this kind of history re-writing is to rewrite history into a kind of “only white people owned slaves, and they were all black.”

    You wouldn’t think just telling the truth would make some people so nervous… but it seems as if some think American history isn’t bad enough, they have to try to make it worse somehow… as if telling the truth would soften the blow???


    • I don’t think that people knowing the truth is bad, but whoever writes history books does, apparently.

      The history books I read while in school, I can pretty much sum up what they were trying to teach without going into as much detail and that is: All white people are bad.

      And Natives seem to be pretty much forgotten except for little bits and pieces here and there.

      I just think it is sad how history is taught, how it’s filled with lies instead of the truth. And of course, some people believe the lies. If you try to tell them the truth, they will argue with you.

      I did know that some Indians owned slaves. However, I didn’t know that free Africans owned slaves. That’s definitely new to me, but thanks for telling me. I’m always up for learning something new.

      There are even books about white slavery in America, but I’m not sure how many people believe them.

      Thanks for liking my post.


      • Oh I didn’t mean to say knowing the truth is bad, but yes, I agree, it seems some people think so.
        I agree, it’s so hard to figure out what the truth is sometimes when books are so easily manipulated to whatever the author wants to be true.


      • I know you didn’t say it was bad and I didn’t mean for it to sound that way in my reply. Sorry. I was just saying that I didn’t think it was bad for people to know the truth and I know you said that in your comment as well.

        And with books, it is hard time to find ones that tell the truth, but there definitely are some out there. Joseph Bruchac has some books that are historical fiction, but he explains later in an author’s note the real history behind the story. He really does his research and makes sure he finds the truth. I think that is great.


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