At the Crossroads of Sympathy and Prophecy

Anna Jameson, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada, and the Drummond Island Métis


  • Erin Akerman Western University


While discussing their community’s relocation, Drummond Island Métis interviewees Lewis Solomon and Jean Baptiste Sylvestre describe how they witnessed British author Anna Jameson steal skulls from an Indigenous grave during her travels in 1837 (The Migration of Voyageurs from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene in 1828 1901). Their testimony provokes a reckoning for Jameson and her travel narrative Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838) due to her self-depiction as exceptionally sympathetic toward Indigenous peoples. Their evidence also unsettles earlier scholarship that valorizes Jameson’s sympathy and gestures toward the settler colonial stakes bound up in such readings. This paper re-evaluates Jameson’s travel narrative by demonstrating how her settler sympathy is intertwined with prophecies of “elimination” (Wolfe 2006, 388). It then shows how the narratives of Solomon, Sylvestre, and other members of the Drummond Island Métis community (ancestors of the present-day Georgian Bay Métis community) resist the constraints of such prophecy.