Open book: Excerpt from Travellers through Empire: Indigenous
Voyages from Early Canada. Reviews: Shared ambitions. Contested ground. Beyond apprehension. More books: Confederation diary, Salish weaving, Newfoundland defenders, Viola Desmond’s country.
A new book records the stories and experiences of some of the many Indigenous people who travelled to Britain and other parts of the world in the late eighteenth century and during the nineteenth century. Their trips were undertaken for various reasons, including missionary work, education, performing, and advocating on behalf of their communities.
On their voyages they were received with curiosity and often as celebrities, sometimes speaking before huge audiences and meeting with royalty and leading figures of the day. But their journeys took place at a time when humanitarian perspectives were mixed with colonial and assimilationist policies.
In Cecilia Morgan’s Travellers through Empire: Indigenous Voyages from Early
Canada we find people such as Peter Jones (Kahkewaquonaby) and George Copway (Kahgegagabowh), members of the Mississauga people of Upper Canada who were also Methodist missionaries as part of a nineteenth-century global missionary movement.
We also read about Jones’ niece Catherine Sutton (Nahneebahweequa). After several moves by her family and other Indigenous people, they were denied access to their lands. Sutton was selected to represent them by travelling to London — where she was received by Queen Victoria — and her family was eventually allowed to buy back their land.