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

Is a copy of the original Indian Act of 1876 available, and what about later amendments to the Act?

The Indian Act was first enacted in 1876 and it has been amended many, many times since then. There are many websites which provide information on the history of the Indian Act. One is available from an online version of the periodical, "The Saskatchewan Indian" at: www.sicc.sk.ca/saskindian/a78mar04.htm.

There were two Acts passed in 1850 that moved towards a formal document, one being "An Act for the Better Protection of the Lands and Property of Indians in Lower Canada" and the other being, "An Act where the Better Protection of Indians in Upper Canada imposition, the property occupied or enjoyed by them from trespass and injury." Also, in 1857, there was the "An Act for the Gradual Civilization of the Indian Tribes in the Canadas"; this was followed in 1859 with "The Civilization and Enfranchisement Act." The Management of Indian Lands and Property Act of 1869 also preceded the 1876 consolidated Act.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has access to the original Indian Act, in the 1876 Statutes of Canada. To obtain a copy of the Act, contact the Reprography department with a credit card number as there is a charge per page. There are a number of pages. The phone number for Reprography is: 613-996-7418.

You may be able to access a copy more locally through a Federal Government Depository Services library. A listing of such libraries (including many public and university libraries) is available at the following website: http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Depo/table-e.html#CANADA.

The Act is also available on the Internet on the National Aboriginal Document Database site at: http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/205/301/ic/cdc/aboriginaldocs/m-stat.htm. At this site, there is also a listing of the Acts leading up to the 1876 Act (i.e. An Act to amend and consolidate the laws respecting Indians, assented to April 12, 1876) and many pursuant to this, up until the 1982 Act. However, please note that web versions are generally not recognized to be legal documents.

Also, there are some relevant documents in print format. One is entitled "The Indian Act," prepared by staff at the Parliamentary Research Branch; another is entitled "Indian Status and Band Membership Issues," a document prepared by the Political and Social Affairs Division in 1996 for the Government of Canada Depository Services Program.

There are also many relevant print sources in the LAC collection. Many of these are available for interlibrary loan and a few of these are listed below:

Annotated Indian Act and Aboriginal Constitutional Provisions. -- Scarborough, Ont. : Carswell, 1998-. -- v. ; 23 cm. (Please note that the latest edition is in Reference and is not available for interlibrary loan.) (AMICUS No. 19507020.)

Bartlett, Richard H. and University of Saskatchewan. Native Law Centre. -- The Indian Act of Canada. -- Saskatoon : University of Saskatchewan, Native Law Centre, 1980. - 36 p. ; 26 cm. (AMICUS No. 1357538.)

Canada. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. -- Changes to the Indian Act : important changes to Canada's Indian Act resulting from the passage of Bill C-31. -- Ottawa : Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 1985. -- [7, 9] p. ; 23 cm. (AMICUS No. 5792157.)

Canada. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. -- Indian Band Bylaw Handbook. -- Ottawa : The Dept., 1991. -- iii, 28, 30, iii p. ; 28 cm. (AMICUS No. 10685826.)

Hurley, Mary C. -- Bill C-37 : Claim Settlements (Alberta and Saskatchewan) Implementation Act. [Ottawa] : Parliamentary Research Branch, 2002. -- 10 p. ; 28 cm. (AMICUS No. 27091909.) [Also published in French under the title, Projet de loi C-37 : Loi sur la mise en oeuvre de mesures concernant le règlement de revendications (Alberta et Saskatchewan).]

Sayers, Judith F. Canada. Status of Women Canada. Policy Research -- First Nations Women, Governance and the Indian Act : A Collection of Policy Research Papers. -- [Ottawa] : Status of Women Canada, 2001. - 166 p. ; 28 cm. (AMICUS No. 25967783.)

These documents may be borrowed through interlibrary loan. Service copies of titles in LAC's collections can normally be borrowed on interlibrary loan by making arrangements with your local public or university library. Details about our interlibrary loan services can also be found on LAC's Web site at: www.collectionscanada.ca/6/16/index-e.html

Many more titles can be searched on the web-based version of LAC's National Union Catalogue. Titles that appear in this catalogue are housed at some 1100 libraries across Canada, some of which may be local. The Internet address of this catalogue is: http://amicus.collectionscanada.ca/aaweb/aalogine.htm. Once here, click on "Search," then choose an index (such as "Title Keyword") and type in "Indian act" (without the quotations). Many results will follow.

There are also a number of newspapers with relevant information. Some Native newspapers in the LAC collection that have most likely been following the changes proposed by Robert Nault, former Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, are as follows:

The Eastern Door - available on the Internet at: www.easterndoor.com/

Native Voice - AMICUS No. 3823975

Nunatsiaq News - AMICUS No. 6971796

Windspeaker - AMICUS No. 9468146

The last three newspapers are also available in microfilm format at Library and Archives Canada for interlibrary loan purposes. AMICUS numbers have been provided for easy access by local libraries.

Also, LAC has many mainstream newspapers in its collection. Some articles that may be of interest are listed as follows:

Held to account
Re: "First Nations vow to fight new Indian Act," June 12.
Calgary Herald - Sun, Jun 23, 2002 - 150 words
FSIN says proposed changes are oppressive
The federal government's attempt to make changes to the Indian Act will deny First Nations people their inherent treaty rights, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN)
Chief Perry Bellegarde...
The Leader-Post (Regina) - Sat, Jun 22, 2002 - 437 words
Indian Act overhaul is long overdue
Re: Natives reject Indian Act overhaul, June 15.
The Ottawa Citizen - Fri, Jun 21, 2002 - 248 words
Indian Act reform overdue
Accountability, transparency, democracy and the rule of law: these are the pillars that hold up civil society; these are the standards that citizens expect all governments to follow.
Montreal Gazette - Thu, Jun 20, 2002 - 644 words
Economic needs not addressed: Indian Act changes fail to make natives self-sufficient: banker
OTTAWA -- As the political debate over revisions to the Indian Act heat up this week between aboriginal leaders and the federal government, both sides will likely still ignore an important issue...
Daily Herald (Prince Albert) - Mon, Jun 17, 2002 - 554 words
Indian act 'racist': Coon Come
The head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) said he plans to challenge legislation proposed Friday to revamp the 126-year-old Indian Act.
The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) - Sat, Jun 15, 2002 - 563 words
Indian Act overhaul stirs anger
OTTAWA - The Chretien government is giving Canada's Indian bands two years to straighten out their budgeting and administration practices, otherwise it will impose its own codes of conduct under an...
Winnipeg Free Press - Sat, Jun 15, 2002 - 697 words
Natives vow to battle bill: Act's first overhaul in 126 years empowers First Nations people, minister says
OTTAWA -- Calling it an end to the era of colonialism, Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault tabled the first major overhaul of Canada's Indian Act in 126 years in Parliament on Friday. But...
Times Colonist (Victoria) - Sat, Jun 15, 2002 - 671 words
Natives reject Indian Act overhaul: 'One cannot modernize colonialism'
Calling it an end to the era of colonialism, Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault tabled the first major overhaul of Canada's Indian Act in 126 years in Parliament yesterday. But native...
The Ottawa Citizen - Sat, Jun 15, 2002 - 761 words

Once again, these articles would be available for interlibrary loan; some could be accessed on-site by visiting your local library.

For more information, contact the Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC) website and Library. Their Internet address is: www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/index_e.html.

Their Library mailing address is:

Indian and Northern Affairs Library
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0H4

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