The Packet

Canada's History - - CONTENTS -

Miss­ing peo­ple. Missed the train. Pals in print. A fa­mil­iar face. Provin­cial police over­looked. Re­mem­ber­ing Lorene. Made in the U.S.A.

Ien­joyed Roy MacGregor’s sweep­ing re­view of our search as Cana­di­ans for our na­tional iden­tity [“An Un­known Coun­try,” June-July 2016]. He ref­er­enced Ge­orge Grant’s journal of the Sand­ford Flem­ing ex­pe­di­tion. This 1872 record is re­ally a book­end to an­other sig­nif­i­cant travers­ing of our coun­try: Paul Kane’s Wan­der­ings of an Artist and his two dis­tinct jour­neys of 1845 and 1846–48.

What strikes one in read­ing the two jour­nals back-to-back is how markedly dif­fer­ent was the land they were travers­ing in this twenty-four-year pe­riod. Kane jour­neyed across a con­ti­nent that was in­hab­ited and gov­erned by in­dige­nous peo­ple. The Flem­ing-Grant ex­pe­di­tion found a land largely de­pop­u­lated of its Abo­rig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants.

One might sur­mise that, to the jour­ney­ing Euro­peans of the Vic­to­rian age, their en­coun­ters with the now-de­pleted in­dige­nous cul­tures and peo­ples con­firmed that it was in­deed an un­known and largely un­oc­cu­pied land — an idea that sub­se­quent set­tlers hold to this day. Michael Clague


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