This database provides item-level descriptions on approximately 1,500 maps and plans that relate to Aboriginal reserves and settlements in western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut Territory). The maps described here are both published and unpublished, and are generally limited to single discrete (monographic) records. Approximately 1,200 items, now in the public domain, have been digitized.
The item-level descriptions used in this database are written in the language of the original map or plan; most of the descriptions are in English.
One of the more basic tasks faced by federal authorities in their
administration of western lands was setting aside reserves for the
exclusive use of Aboriginal bands that had signed a treaty. Under the British North America Act
of 1867, "Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians" was designated a
federal responsibility, and title to reserve lands was to be (and still
is) vested in the Crown. In order for reserve lands to be withdrawn
from future sale and settlement by the non-Aboriginal community, a
complete legal description of the land had to be filed with federal
agencies and local land registry offices. Maps and plans were inevitably
included as a fundamental part of the legal description of any reserve.
Later, they were also part of any development that took place once the
lands were designated.
Over the years, a great many cartographic records have been created
by federal agencies responsible for the administration of Aboriginal
affairs in western Canada. They range from rough sketch plans that
accompanied letters to government officials, to one-of-a-kind cadastral
plans, to mass-produced maps intended for public dissemination.
Although this database is extensive, it is not necessarily a complete
listing of all the cartographic holdings on western reserves in the
Library and Archives Canada. Many single discrete items still remain
hidden in the collections, especially those of government departments
with a vested interest in Aboriginal affairs and those of individuals
with federal administrative responsibilities, such as Treaty
Commissioners, career civil servants, and Ministers of the Crown.
The cartographic records described in this database cover British
Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon Territory, Northwest
Territories, and Nunavut Territory. There are no maps of Aboriginal
reserves and settlements in Ontario, Québec or the Atlantic Provinces.
The territorial and provincial designations used in this finding aid
reflect the current map of Canada (2003) and are not the borders used at
the time of the map's creation.
The database is an updated electronic version of volumes 1 and 2 of Maps
of Indian Reserves and Settlements in the National Map Collection /
Cartes des réserves et agglomérations indiennes de la Collection
nationale de cartes et plans compiled by Linda Camponi and
published in 1980-1981 by the Public Archives of Canada. It is intended
as a list of maps of Aboriginal agencies, reserves and settlements found
primarily in the holdings of the Department of Indian Affairs (RG10,
Black Series) and the two royal commissions of enquiry pertaining to
Aboriginal lands, namely the Commission Respecting Indian Lands and
Indian Affairs in the Province of British Columbia, 1913 (RG33/104), and
the Indian Claims Commission, 1966-1977 (RG33/115). It also includes
maps of reserves and settlements held in the records of other federal
departments and in private collections. As with the original
publication, architectural and engineering documents are not included in
It is important to note that the descriptions included in this
specialized finding aid were simply converted from their original paper
format to a searchable database. In other words, the original maps and
plans that these entries describe were not re-catalogued. The original
descriptions were completed over a twenty-year period using a variety of
standards. For this reason, most items are described differently from
current map cataloguing standards outlined in the Anglo-American
Cataloguing Rules (AACR2).
Library and Archives Canada maintains an active acquisitions program
and regularly receives cartographic records from government departments
and private individuals. This finding aid, and its accompanying
digitized images, will be updated periodically as the institution
acquires new reserve maps and plans.
Researchers can search the database using any one or a combination of the following fields:
Searches can be conducted using the names of individuals, agencies,
reserves or settlements, or by subject. A keyword search will query all
fields in the database.
A search can be conducted for the province or territory where the agency, reserve or settlement is located. The heading all
appears by default, meaning that any search you do will automatically
include all provinces and territories in the database. If you wish to
limit your search to a single province or territory, select it from the
drop-down menu. Use the current name of the province or territory where
the agency, reserve or settlement is located. Once again, only the
provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon
Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut Territory are available.
A search can be limited to one or more years. The dates are those
that appear on the original document. In instances when no date appears
on an item, Archival staff will often infer a date based on the
information contained in the map or plan. In such cases, the date is
placed in square brackets. Maps that cannot be dated are indicated by
the remark "N.D/S.D." (No Date/Sans Date).
Researchers can search by the name of the reserve or settlement. The
various spellings of a single name are included in the database, with
cross-references among these various spellings. In some cases, there are
no maps for the agency, reserve or Aboriginal settlement you are
interested in. Do not indicate the number of the agency, reserve, agency
or population in this field; use the next field instead (Reserve
The agency names, reserve names and reserve numbers used in this database are based on the Schedule of Indian Reserves and Settlements
published by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development,
Ottawa, in 1972. For places not included in this publication, the lists
published in the Department's annual reports were used. In the case of
regions not officially confirmed as reserves, the name used at the time
the map was created is shown.
A search in this field will give you all agencies, reserves or
populations with the number you entered. If you typed the name of a
reserve or population in the previous field, the search will be limited
to this name and the number you enter in the current field.
All the maps and plans listed in this finding aid have been
reproduced in black and white (and some in colour) onto a single,
large-format (105 mm.), microfiche. Each microfiche is given a unique
number with the prefix "NMC". In the past, some maps and plans were
photographed in black and white using a high-quality, large-format, film
and the negatives were assigned a "C" number. Researchers can query the
database using either of these numbers.
Place a check mark next to Descriptions with a digitized image to limit your search to those descriptions with digitized maps that are available online.
The field Keywords can be used to conduct a search
on the name of an Aboriginal person, place, reserve or settlement, or on
any other subject likely to appear in the database descriptions.
If you have the name of the reserve or settlement, you can use either the Keywords or Reserve name fields. Use the Keywords
field to find all references to the word indicated; this could be a map
of your reserve or a reference to another reserve or a reference to
your word. By typing your reserve name in the Reserve name field, you will find only the maps bearing the name of your reserve.
Researchers should refer to the Bands and Agencies
guide to find the name of a reserve or settlement, but for reference
purposes only. This name might not be in the guide of reserves and
Aboriginal settlements. Bear in mind also that there is nothing in this
guide for Ontario, Québec, or the Atlantic provinces.
The Geographical Names Board of Canada
(http://geonames.nrcan.gc.ca/index_e.php) acts as the national
coordinating body for the designation and use geographical names. Since
1897 the Board has maintained a database of approved names for all
geographical features (towns, cities, Indian reserves, lakes, mountains,
etc.). The database notes the authorized spelling and the location of
current-day Indian reserves, including the longitude and latitude. It
also provides a reference map of the reserve and surrounding area.
Researchers may find it useful to use official reserve names and
spellings when querying the database.
If possible, search in English and in French. Descriptions are
currently produced in the language of the creator-donor, but this has
not always been the case. Most descriptions are in English only.
However, titles remain in their original language, and are only rarely
If you type map and then carte, the results will not cancel each other out.
Be careful with dates. Researchers will only retrieve dates that correspond strictly to what they have specified.
Type 1890-1910 to obtain only descriptions with this specific phrase, if there are any.
Since the database contains descriptions of old documents, do not use
only modern or current words and terms when entering your search. To
improve your results, it may be necessary to use outdated expressions
and words whose spelling or meanings have changed over time.
North-West Territories, Northwest Territories
Klondike, Klondyke, Clondyke
Do not use punctuation. For example, type st peters and not st. peters.
Do not use the apostrophe. For example, type quappelle and not qu'appelle, or tobys meadow rather than toby's meadow.
Do not use the or of even if they appear in the reserve name. For example, to find the reserve called the pas, simply type pas, or lake woods for lake of the woods.
How to Interpret the Results
The search results will be posted as a results summary list (or hit
list) from which you will be able to obtain more detailed descriptions.
Results Summary List
The results summary list, sorted by column, contains information
that will allow users to assess whether or not the documents that were
found are relevant. Information within square brackets has been supplied
by staff at the Library and Archives of Canada and is based on clues
found on the map, plan, or chart. Each page of the list provides
20 references (this default value can be changed). Users can export the
results to diskette or download to their own personal computer
The first column is linked to the Detailed Description (see below). Clicking on the icon will bring you to the detailed description.
The Title column provides the title of the map or
plan; in some cases it will be abbreviated. The complete title appears
in the detailed description.
The Date column provides the map's exact or approximate date.
A cross-mark under the Available On-line column indicates that a digitized copy of the map or plan is included with the detailed description.
From the results summary list, you may consult one detailed
description at a time. Some of the descriptions will contain a
thumb-size image that can be expanded to see a more detailed image of
the map or plan. These images have been compressed using MrSID
(Multi-resolution Seamless Image Database) software. The first time you
request an image, your computer will prompt you to download a free
plug-in for your browser called MrSID (you will only be prompted if this
plug-in is not already installed). Please note that depending on your
internet connection speed this process could take up to five minutes to
download. MrSID will allow you to view the image and magnify portions of
it without any loss of resolution. Researchers should consult our help document for using MrSID
for further information on this browser plug-in.
Researchers should note that when they click on a second or third
page, the new images will be retrieved to a second browser window.
Please note that this second browser will not maximize automatically and
the user will have to maximize the browser from his/her Taskbar.
The detailed description includes all or some of the sections
described below. If the information seems insufficient or unclear - for
example, because of misspellings or other errors - users should contact
Reference Services at the Library and Archives of Canada for more
This is the complete title appearing on the map or plan. Usually,
the title has been transcribed exactly as it appears in order to
maintain the language, wording, order, and spelling (but not necessarily
the punctuation and capitalization). Earlier forms of letters
(e.g., �; =; or ss) and earlier forms of diacritical marks have been
transcribed to their modern form. More specific title information is
sometimes provided in square brackets by archival staff and is based on
information that appears on the item.
This is the date of compilation, publication, distribution,
printing, copyright, etc. Dates enclosed in square brackets do not
appear on the item but have been inferred by staff from a variety of
sources. Double dates, for example 1755 (1803), indicate that newer
information was added to an item after it was first compiled. The first
date indicates the first date of compilation, and the second date
indicates when the item was last updated. The term n.d./s.d. refers to
items for which no date can be assigned.
Most of the maps and plans listed in this database have been
reproduced in black and white (and some in colour) onto a single,
large-format (105 mm.), microfiche. Each microfiche is given a unique
number with the prefix "NMC". This "NMC" number can use to order
photographic reproductions and/or digital images. The "NMC" number
should be included by authors and publishers in their credit line (for
example, credit: Library and Archives of Canada, NMC-123456). This
number, along with the call number and title, should also be used when
placing a request to consult original documents or when ordering
In the past, some maps, plans, and charts were photographed in
black and white using a high-quality, large-format film, and the
negatives were assigned a "C" number. This number, along with the title,
call number, and microfiche number, should be included in orders for
black and white prints. In cases where there is no existing "C" number
or negative, black and white prints can be made from the microfiche.
This is an administrative control number assigned to individual
items or a group of documents acquired by Library and Archives Canada at
a specific time and from the same source.
This field provides researchers with information on any
restrictions that might exist concerning access to original documents
and/or the use of original maps, plans, or charts and their images. For
conservation reasons, some original documents cannot be copied or
examined. As well, in cases where Library and Archives Canada owns only a
photographic reproduction of an original item held in another
institution, the map or plan may be consulted (and in some cases copied)
for research purposes only. If researchers should wish to use the item
for any other purpose, they should obtain the permission of the
institution that owns the original item.
How to Consult a Record or Order a Copy
More than 1,200 digitized reserve maps and plans are available
on-line, and this number will increase as new accessions are acquired by
Library and Archives Canada. Some conditions govern the utilization of
digital images. See Terms Governing the Reproduction and Use of Material from the Collection of Library and Archives Canada.
Consulting original documents may not be possible for conservation
reasons. Where possible, consultation is done, by appointment, at the
main facility of Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.
For more information about the reproduction and consultation services offered by Library and Archives Canada, please see Services to the Public.
The reproduction of archival material is subject to the copyright
legislation and its regulations. This is a highly complex area for both
archivers and researchers and has a profound effect on the way that
Library and Archives Canada delivers its services to researchers for
Copyright can be owned or held by an individual or a group of
individuals, a corporation, the Crown, or the public. The terms of
protection can vary subject to the author, the nature and the
disposition of the material in question, and other considerations.
Library and Archives Canada holds a variety of material for which the
ownership of copyright may be uncertain due to the mixture of public and
private material, or published and unpublished works. One of the major
difficulties for both archivers and researchers is in identifying and
locating the copyright owners.
It is recommended that researchers consult the Copyright Act
(http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-42/index.html) and seek legal advice
where questions regarding the interpretation of copyright arise.
It is not the role of Library and Archives Canada to
interpret the Copyright Act for researchers, and researchers must accept
responsibility for determining any copyright obligations. Researchers
should allow adequate lead time for researching ownership and obtaining
permission, as required.