As the Nile Flows or the Camel Walks

Between 1884–1885, Britain requested a contingent of boatmen – “voyageurs” – from Canada to assist transport troops and supplies through the Nile’s system of cataracts (rapids). The expedition’s cross section of participants included Egyptians, Sudanese, roughly one hundred indigenous subjects from Canada and subjects from across Britain’s empire. Primary sources authored by four participants are central to understanding how the role of travelogues and their accompanying illustrations and photographs combine with discourses of imperialism to establish a foundational framework for the discursive practice of colonialism. Two authors – Louis Jackson’s Our Gaughnawagas in Egypt (1885) and James D. Deer’s The Canadian Voyageurs in Egypt (1885) – were members of the Mohawk community of Kahnawake near Montreal, Quebec. This visual essay is interested in the way in which indigeneity is produced through contact and exchange under conditions of imperial conquest. It intersperses maps, historical illustrations, photographs, fragments of musical transcription texts and travelogues that were produced in Canada, Britain, Egypt, and Sudan during the 19th and 20th centuries.

ARTMargins, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp. 119-138.


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