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Fonds Level Description

Accession Number: 78-005


Department of Indian Affairs fonds. Additions. -- Microfilmed 25 Apr. 1975. -- 5 microfilm reels.

Biography / History

The beginning of the Department of Indian Affairs can be traced to the appointments of Sir William Johnson and John Stuart as the first two Superintendents of Indian Affairs in the Northern and Southern departments, respectively, of British North America in 1755. From this time, Indian matters were the responsibility of the Imperial Authorities until 1860 and it took three separate Imperial agencies, the Colonial Office, the Treasury, and the Army Commissariat, to look after the needs of the Indian department. On July 1, 1860, the Indian branch was created under the authority of the Commissioner of Crown Lands. In 1862, the Office of the Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs was created, thus giving the branch a permanent head. By, 1868, the Indian branch had become one of the four branches under the jurisdiction of the new Department of the Secretary of State of Canada and in 1873, the responsibility for Indians was taken over by the Minister of the Interior when the Department of the Interior was created that same year. The Indian Act of 1876 created the legislative framework for an Indian Policy that was applied, more or less, uniformly across the country. The Act also granted considerable powers to the Superintendent General and his Agents and ensured that the Indians were increasingly subject to bureaucratic regulation. In an ammendment to the Indian Act in 1880, the Indian branch was elevated to the status of Department. The Department of Indian Affairs remained under the direction of the Minister of the Interior and the Minister also held the title of Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. A further ammendment to the Indian Act was made in 1881 which increased the powers of the Indian agents and made them justices of the peace, allowing them to prosecute and hand down sentences for violations of any of the provisions of the act. This bureaucratic control over the Native people of Canada increased over the years. Although specific goals and approaches to achieving them changed over the years, the main objective of the Department of Indian Affairs has always been to assimilate the Indians into "civilized, European culture." In 1966, the Department of Indian affairs became the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Develpment, and today, it is known as the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

Custodial History

The microfilm was purchased from the Public Archives of Canada.

Scope and Content

This addition to the fonds consists of microfilm copy of R.G. 10, Series 2 from the Public Archives of Canada (records of Superintendent's office, correspondence 1756-1790, reel C-1222 and C-1223); minutes of Department of Indian Affairs, 1755-1790, reel C-1223; R.G. 10 series 3 (records of the military), commission for Indian Affairs, Albany, 1677-1748, reels C-1220 and C-1221; and Western Post records, Detroit and Michilimackinac, 1771-1855, reel C-1224.


Title based on the contents of the fonds.

The microfilm was purchased from the Public Archives of Canada.

The original items are located at the National Archives of Canada.

Restrictions: N

Finding aids: Y

Associated material located at the National Archives of Canada.

For related records see: 74-009, 83-006, 84-002, and 84-017.

Microfilm. Set 29.