Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements, 1680-1956

L​ibrary and Archives Canada (LAC) houses an extensive, but not complete, collection of historic treaties, land surrenders and related agreements.

Search this database for a large collection of historic treaties, land surrenders and related agreements between the Crown, First Nations, and in one instance, the Métis.

Search the records

  • Go to Collection Search and click on “Advanced Search”
  • In the "All these words" box, enter a keyword such as:
    • the name of a reserve, place, treaty number
    • the name of a person
    • a subject
  • In the "Database" box, select "Collections and Fonds (Archives Search)”
  • In the “subset of Collections and Fonds” box, select “Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements”
  • Optional: For “Date”, enter a specific year or time period
  • For "Specific terms," do not use this field for your search
  • Optional: for “Type of material”, you can limit your search by selecting one of the following options:
    • Maps and related material
    • Textual material
  • For “Hierarchical level”, do not use this field for your search
  • For “Province”, do not use this field for your search
  • Click the "Search" button

Search tips

  • Consider the fact that names have changed over time. Records may be under historic or contemporary names.
  • You may need to combine terms to refine your search

Access the records

Most documents in this series have been digitized in black and white from microfilm copies and can be viewed online.

For items that have not been digitized, you have two options:

Include these details from the database entry when completing the copy or retrieval form for non-digitized items:

  • Title
  • Reference number indicated next to the “Reference” field.

About the records

This series contains treaties, surrenders and agreements spanning more than 275 years, from 1680 to 1956. It's part of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development fonds (RG10).

Since 1973, Canada's claims policy has been to negotiate Comprehensive land claims agreements also known as modern treaties, with Indigenous nations. They define the ongoing legal, political and economic relationships between Indigenous parties, the federal government and the provincial or territorial governments who are signatories to these agreements. These agreements are not part of this collection.

More than half of the documents in the collection include attachments, such as:

  • maps
  • plans
  • orders-in-council
  • annuity lists

Structure and numbering

There are two different numbering schemes for the collections:

  • ITS system (created by Indian Affairs in the 1880s)
  • IT system (created by Government Archives Division in 1991)

ITS system

  • identifies each transaction using a consecutive ITS registration number
  • new additions have fractions and letters appended to the original number

IT system

  • key for locating documents on microfilm, microfiche and colour transparencies

You must make the distinction between the two systems for post-Confederations western treaties negotiated between 1871 and 1921.

Limits of the database

Users should note that this series is not a complete collection of all historical treaties, surrenders and agreements between the Crown and First Nations. Many such records are held elsewhere. There are treaties and land surrenders pertinent to Indigenous peoples in current-day Canada that are not held at Library and Archives Canada. For instance, there are treaties connected to Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada that are housed in archives in Great Britain and the United States. Similarly, there are treaties signed prior to 1870 between First Nations and the Hudson’s Bay Company. These originals may be found in Great Britain and the Manitoba Archives.

Related resources at Library and Archives Canada

Consult the Collection Search database to find other files related to treaties, surrenders and agreements. Use the keywords R216 and the name of a First Nation band, a person, or a place.

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