In the late eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century, an unprecedented number of Indigenous people – especially Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabeg, and Cree – travelled to Britain and other parts of the world. Who were these transatlantic travellers, where were they going, and what were they hoping to find?
Travellers through Empire unearths the stories of Indigenous peoples including Mississauga Methodist missionary and Ojibwa chief Reverend Peter Jones, the Scots-Cherokee officer and interpreter John Norton, Catherine Sutton, a Mississauga woman who advocated for her people with Queen Victoria, E. Pauline Johnson, the Mohawk poet and performer, and many others. Cecilia Morgan retraces their voyages from Ontario and the northwest fur trade and details their efforts overseas, which included political negotiations with the Crown, raising funds for missionary work, receiving an education, giving readings and performances, and teaching international audiences about Indigenous cultures. As they travelled, these remarkable individuals forged new families and friendships and left behind newspaper interviews, travelogues, letters, and diaries that provide insights into their cross-cultural encounters.
Chronicling the emotional ties, contexts, and desires for agency, resistance, and negotiation that determined their diverse experiences, Travellers through Empire provides surprising vantage points on First Nations travels and representations in the heart of the British Empire.