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Banner: Aboriginal Resources and Services - Frequently Asked QuestionsBanner: Aboriginal Resources and Services

Where can I find information on eligibility for Indian status?

Many tribes do not recognize geographical boundaries, and Canadian and American sources often overlap. Therefore, resources from both countries are included here.

To pursue a claim to status under federal law, begin by contacting Indian Affairs to obtain guidelines, forms, etc.

Visit the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada website, at: www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/pr/pub/ywtk/index_e.html#smoaq which includes answers to frequently asked questions regarding status, including:

  • Who Is Eligible to Receive Benefits?
  • Who is Eligible for Registration?
  • How Do I Apply for Status?
  • What Are Treaty Rights?
  • Who Is Eligible for Treaty Payments?
  • Who Is Eligible for Band Funds?
  • Who Can Call the Reserve Their Home?

There are also some Information Sheets (in the Publications and Research section) on the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada website at: www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/pr/info/index_e.html that may be relevant. Some of these are: "The Indian Register", "Status Indians and Taxes," and "Treaties with Aboriginal People in Canada".

Some individuals may also wish to contact their provincial or territorial Indian and Northern Affairs Canada office. There is a listing of regional INAC offices at the following URL: www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ro/index_e.html.

To seek recognition as a member of a specific First Nation, Métis or Inuit association, contact the association for its regulations and requirements. Some helpful sites are:

  • The Métis National Council, at http://metisnation.ca
  • Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, at www.itk.ca/links/index.php
  • The Assembly of First Nations, at www.afn.ca/Assembly_of_First_Nations.htm
    (Click on Links, then on First Nations, Tribal Councils)

Some other helpful sites for research on status are as follows:

Other print sources at the LAC:

Canada. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. -- Are you eligible? : Registration Under the Indian Act. -- Ottawa : Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 1997. -- 1 folded sheet. (AMICUS No. 19580183.) (Also, an updated version - year 2000 - of this document is available on the INAC website, at: www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/pr/pub/elig_e.html.)

[Also both the print and online versions are available in French, as follows: « Êtes-vous admissible?  : l'inscription en vertu de la Loi sur les Indiens » AMICUS No. 19580216. The URL for the updated version is : www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/pr/pub/elig_f.html.]

Canada. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Indian Affairs in Canada and the United States : information. -- Ottawa : The Dept., 1998. -- 5 p. (Issued also in French under title: « Les affaires indiennes au Canada et aux États-Unis : information ».) [Notes Summary: "This information sheet looks at some of the differences and similarities in the ways that the governments of Canada and the United States work with Aboriginal peoples… "] (AMICUS No. 19960544)

Canada. Indian Registration and Band Lists Directorate. -- The Indian Act : past and present : a manual on registration and entitlement legislation. -- Ottawa : Indian Registration and Band Lists Directorate, 1991. -- ii , 49 p. ; 28 cm. AMICUS No. 11153954.

Gilbert, Larry. -- Entitlement to Indian status and membership codes in Canada. Scarborough, Ont. : Carswell, 1996. -- xvi , 217 p. ; 23 cm. (AMICUS No. 15828504.)

Lawrence, Bonita Elisabeth. -- Real Indians and others [microform] : Mixed-Race Urban Native People, the Indian Act and the Rebuilding of Indigenous Nations. -- Ottawa : National Library of Canada, [2000]. -- 6 microfiches. (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Toronto, 1999.) (AMICUS No. 24738855.)

Russell, Bill. -- Indian Affairs Records at the National Archives of Canada: A Source for Genealogical Research. -- Toronto: Genealogical Society, 1998. -- xii, 104 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. (AMICUS No. 15525242.)

Wherrett, Jill. Canada. Library of Parliament. Research Branch. -- Indian Status and Band Membership Issues. -- [Ottawa] : Library of Parliament. Research Branch, 1996. - 21 p. ; 28 cm. (AMICUS No. 15422252) [Also issued in French under the title, « Questions relatives au statut d'Indien et à l'appartenance à la bande ». AMICUS No. 15422255.]

You may also wish to search the online interface to our LAC National Union Catalogue, available at the following URL: http://amicus.collectionscanada.ca/aaweb/aalogine.htm . Once here, click on "Search"; then choose a database (either "Any AMICUS Database" or "National Library Collections"). Then select an index, such as "Subject Keyword" and type in your search terms, such as "Indian status" or "band membership" (without the quotation marks). You will generate many results. Feel free to experiment with other search terms as well.

Also, if you wish to borrow any titles in the LAC collection through interlibrary loan, you are welcome to do so. Service copies of titles in the Library's collections can normally be borrowed on interlibrary loan by making arrangements with your local public or university library. Details about LAC interlibrary loan services can also be found on the Library's Web site at: www.collectionscanada.ca/6/16/index-e.html

For information about ancestors who were born in the United States for proof of status, you may wish to access genealogical sites which contain American information. Some of these are as follows:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch site, located at:
Family Tree Maker Online, located at:
The Genealogy Homepage, located at:
Once here, scroll down the page, and click on "North American Genealogy Resources," and then scroll again to the section "American Indian," with its 15 or so links.

To make contact with leaders of American Indian tribes, access their addresses from this site: www.indians.org/Resource/FedTribes99/fedtribes99.html

The website of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the United States is located at: www.doi.gov/bureau-indian-affairs.html. For general BIA information, the telephone number is (202) 208-3710. For the tribal leaders' directory, the number is (202) 208-3711.

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