Constructing Law, Space, and their Subjects:
European Conceptions of Aboriginal People,
their Governance and Law

13 of 20

Travellers ... held high expectations of the Red Man. Actual Native people could not hope to measure up to the standards set by art. As a result, visitors often felt betrayed in their efforts to find a real Indian: "I was disappointed in these Indians," wrote the Earl of Southesk about his encounter with a band of Saulteaux at Pembina in 1859, "They too much resembled commonplace Europeans." Southesk was a wealthy nobleman travelling in western Canada partly for his health and partly because he had nothing better to do. At Fort Garry, he met a party of Cree and dismissed them as "an ugly, hard-featured set ... dirty, gypsy-like people, neither handsome, interesting, nor picturesque."
Francis, The Imaginary Indian (pp. 44-45)



The railroads seem to have had more success in finding or constructing "real Indians", as the following representations suggest.

Railway travellers with Natives
Click for image
The Canadian Pacific's representation of Aboriginals.
Sante Fe ad
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This advertisement for the Sante Fe Railroad appeared in National Geographic Magazine in 1929.
Train and Indian
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A Sante Fe Railway publicity photograph.


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