MAY 15, 1911

CANADA APPROVES AMENDMENT TO THE INDIAN ACT PERMITTING DISPLACEMENT

First passed in 1876 and still in force with amendments, the Indian Act is the primary document which defines how the Government of Canada interacts with the 614 First Nation bands in Canada and their members.  In 1911, the Oliver Act (section 49a) amended the Indian Act to allow Aboriginal people living on a reserve next to a town of 8,000 or more people to be removed without consent.  Primarily, the amendment was designed to allow municipalities and companies to expropriate portions of reserves, without surrender, for roads, railways, and other public works.  As further amended, a judge could move an entire reserve away from a municipality if it was deemed “expedient.”  The act was named after Frank Oliver, the serving superintendent general of Indian Affairs.  Parliament was aware that the Oliver Act would cause a breach in treaty rights, but proceeded with the amendment.

Source:  “Event—Indian Act Amendment,” Gladue Rights Research Database, University of Saskatchewan.  Retrieved 3/11/2020, http://drc.usask.ca/projects/gladue/view_record.php?table=event&id=105&from=browse
Photo:  Author unknown, 7/30/2005.  Permissive Use.

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