Manitoba and North-West Territories Commission

As previously indicated, Order-in-Council, P.C. 810, 20 April, 1885, set the deadline for scrip claims by Métis residents of Manitoba for 1 May, 1886, while Order-in-Council, P.C. 630, 12 March, 1892, set the deadline for scrip claims by Métis residents of the North-West Territories for 1 May, 1894. Nonetheless, despite the expired time limits, the Alberta-Saskatchewan Commission (as authorized by P.C 438, 2 March, 1900) soon discovered that there was a general perception among the Métis that the Commissioners would be dealing with all their claims irrespective of time limits already fixed. In an attempt to provide equitable treatment and not to arouse bad feelings, the Department instructed the Commissioners "... to take the evidence in all claims presented and to reserve for future action those that were barred by the time limits" (P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901).

In the end, some 800 claims were preferred by the Alberta-Saskatchewan Commission, of which nearly 150 had missed the time limit. Since most, if not all, the claimants had missed the deadline due to circumstances beyond their control, Order-in-Council, P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901, authorized the Minister of the Interior to remove the time limits. As well, James A. McKenna, one of the chairmen of the Alberta-Saskatchewan Commission, was appointed to review the preferred claims "on their own merits".

In an attempt to gather all outstanding Métis claims, the same Order-in-Council also appointed McKenna "... sole Commissioner to deal with the claims of the Half-Breeds of the Territory included in the Province of Manitoba as now constituted which was not included in the Province as constituted by the Manitoba Act, 33 Victoria, Chapter 3, which claims the [Alberta-Saskatchewan] Commissioners were unable to deal with last year [1900], as well as the claims remaining to be dealt with in the North-West Territories ..." (P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901, pp. 1-2.)

Although the federal government was willing to extend its deadline in this instance, the Minister of the Interior felt that the extension, together with the claims that were to be investigated as part of the Treaty 8 adhesions announced under Order-in-Council, P.C. 576, 16 March, 1901, would provide the Métis with ample opportunity to dispose of their claims. Therefore, in an effort to bring Métis claims to a close, Order-in-Council P.C. 575 also ruled that any claims for scrip from Métis residents of Manitoba and the North-West Territories which were not presented to Commissioner McKenna would be barred from any future consideration (P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901, p. 2).

McKenna first dealt with the reserved claims preferred from the year before, and in his preliminary report of 31st May, 1901, to the Minister of the Interior, he submitted his justification as to why certain claims were allowed and others were rejected. McKenna's report was formerly accepted by the Minister and was passed by the Governor-in-Council as Order-in-Council, P.C. 1182, 6 June, 1901.

McKenna then spent the summer travelling through Manitoba and the North-West Territories collecting another 2,122 claims. Unfortunately, his sittings took longer than originally anticipated. An outbreak of smallpox amongst the Métis of Manitoba led him to temporarily adjourn his investigations for about six months (J.A. McKenna to the Minister of the Interior, 1 April, 1902, RG 15, vol. 825, file 616753). In his final report, dated 12 March, 1903, McKenna allowed 1,326 of the claims and rejected 796.

Although his work was effectively finished, the Department was beginning to have second thoughts about his recommendations on Métis applicants who had taken up residence in the United States - claims which the Department had rejected, on his recommendation, under Order-in-Council, P.C. 1182, 6 June, 1901. The Department now felt that the decision was an error and that an applicant's removal from the North-West Territories, after his/her claim had fully matured in 1885, did not deprive him/her of property rights. Consequently, under Order-in-Council, P.C. 1613, 13 August, 1904, the Minister recommended that the Department appoint an officer with all the authority of a scrip commissioner to re-investigate the claims rejected by McKenna in 1901. In the end, the investigating officer, R.C. MacDonald, allowed another 136 claims, each of which was satisfied by an issue of land scrip for 240 acres, aggregating to a total of 32,640 acres.

Order-in-Council, P.C. 1613, 13 August, 1904, also ruled that, in cases of conflicting claims from assignees of scrip, the assignee who had first filed his/her assignment with the Department would be held by the department to be the legal assignee. Shortly thereafter, however, this ruling was rescinded by Order-in-Council, P.C. 2268, 17 December, 1904.

Dates

5 June, 1901, to 9 January, 1902; and May, 1902.

Authority

Orders-in-Council: P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901; P.C. 1182, 6 June, 1901; P.C. 1613, 13 August, 1904; P.C. 2268, 17 December, 1904; and P.C. 1042, 25 May, 1910.

Members

James A.J. McKenna (P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901); R.C. MacDonald (P.C. 13 August, 1904)

Reports

RG 15, series, D II 1, vol. 783 and 784, file 556321, parts 1 to 4, title: "Half-Breed Commission file, J.A.J. McKenna, James Walker, J.A. Coté, S. McLeod [1900-1915]"; RG 15, Series D II 1, vol. 885, file 766,322, title: "J.A.J. McKenna, Half-Breed Commissioner, memo to the Minister [1902]"; and RG 15, Series D II 1, vol. 885, file 766,323, title: "J.A.J. McKenna, Half-Breed Commissioner, mode of settling of Half-Breed claims [1902]".

For reports related to investigations under P.C. 1613, 13 August, 1904, see: RG 15, Series, D II 1, vol. 946, file 947739, title: "R.C. MacDonald encloses orders from 114 persons re. their scrip [1904]"; RG 15, Series, D II 1, vol. 946, file 948001, title: "R.C. MacDonald, list of persons who appeared before Mr. McKenna and were rejected on preliminary examination [1904]"; RG 15, Series, D II 1, vol. 946, file 948015, title: "R.C. MacDonald, list of parties who claimed [1904-05]"; RG 15, Series, D II 1, vol. 946, file 948019, title: "R.C. MacDonald, list of persons who appeared before Mr. McKenna and were rejected after examination [1904]"; RG 15, Series, D II 1, vol. 946, file 948013, title: "R.C. MacDonald, list of brothers and sisters or persons whose applications were rejected on preliminary examination [1904]".

As well, there are several un-numbered operational files relating to the R.C. Macdonald Commission in RG 15, series D II 8g, vol. 3171. These are entitled: Order-in-Council, 13 August, 1904 - List of Scrip Issued; Half-Breed Claims, List of Orders Filed by R.C. Macdonald; List of Receipts for Scrip; Half-Breed Claims Reserved; Half-Breed Claims Disallowed; and Half-Breed Claims Allowed.

Sittings

Sittings of the original Commission under McKenna were held at Birtle, Fort Pelly, Winnipegosis, Kinosota, Oak Point, Fort Alexander, Killarney, Oak Lake, Mossomin, Fort Qu'Appelle, Prince Albert, Duck Lake, Battleford, Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Macleod, Calgary, Edmonton, Wetaskiwin, Lacombe, and Winnipeg. McKenna also investigated applications which were already collected by the Alberta-Saskatchewan Commission organized under P.C. 438, 2 March, 1900, and which were temporarily withheld for further direction from the Department. These investigations did not require additional sittings.

Awards

A total of 2,122 claims were investigated; $55,563.66 in money scrip and 296,564 acres in land scrip were awarded. The summary report on reserved claims, which was published in P.C. 1182, 6 June, 1901, identified another 889 claims, of which 397 were disallowed. Awards for the reserved claims totalled $59,500 in money scrip and 33,600 acres in land scrip. As well, 136 claims for land scrip from Métis who were residents of the United States were later allowed under P.C. 1613, 13 August, 1904.

Applications

Dept. of the Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8c, Applications, 1886-1906, 8.85 m, vols. 1333 to 1371; microfilm reels C-14943 to C-15010.

This series contains applications for scrip made by Métis residents of the North-West Territories. The applications date from 1886 to 1906 and were received by all the scrip commissions post-dating the North-West Half-Breed Commission of 1885, except the Treaty 11 Commission. Each application gives the name of the applicant, his/her residence, place and date of birth, name of parents and origins, martial status, etc. The applications are filed alphabetically by name of the applicant. Finding aid FA15-21, parts 1 to 15, is an alphabetical index to these records. It is also available on microfilm reel C-14943. A copy of the electronic finding aid is available in Archives Search.

If researchers can not find a particular application in this series (this is usually the case with applications accepted by R.C. MacDonald), they should probably investigate the central registry files of the Dominion Lands Branch, RG 15, series D II 1 (which is described in greater detail elsewhere). It is always possible that the application was withdrawn from this series by departmental administrators and placed in a separate case file in their central registry. This procedure appears to have been a common practice whenever an application required special consideration by the department. By creating a separate case file on a particular scrip application, the department could keep all its correspondence concerning the application together in a single location.
 
For a complete listing of Métis applications under Order-in-Council, P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901, researchers should examine one of the claims registers compiled by McKenna, and which are now retained by Library and Archives Canada as RG 15, volumes 1496 and 1517. As described elsewhere, the former register is a nominal index organized by claim number; the latter is an alphabetical index organized by the name of the applicant. The alphabetical index indicates whether a claim was allowed or disallowed by McKenna. The disallowed claims were rolled together and listed in volume 1536 (see description elsewhere).
 
For a complete listing of applications investigated by R.C. Macdonald under Order-in-Council, P.C. 1613, 4 August, 1903, researchers should refer to the register retained as RG 15, volume 1531. Most of these applications would appear to have been placed in case files in the central registry series of the Dominion Lands Branch (RG 15, series D II 1), rather than in the applications series described here.

Scrip Certificates

Dept. of the Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8e, Certificates for Scrip, 1885-1906, 3.15 m, vols. 1373 to 1386.

Certificates (series numbers D3001 to D3300; E3201 to E3658; and F1601 to F1991) issued by the Commissioners to Métis residents who were entitled to partake in the distribution of scrip. The certificates give the place and date of issue, name of the recipient, the amount and nature of the scrip, and the name of the Commissioner. The records are organized by certificate number. Finding aid 15-23 serves as a general index to these records. It gives the location (i.e., the volume number) of each series of certificates (D,E, and F), but it does not identify individuals to which the certificates were issued.

To find the certificate issued to a particular claimant under the Manitoba and North-West Commission, when the registration number is unknown, researchers have three choices. They can either consult finding aid FA15-21, parts 1 - 15, the claims register, or the delivery register. Finding aid FA15-21 was originally designed as an alphabetical index to individual applications in RG 15, series D II 8c (see elsewhere), but it also provides - among other things - a synopsis of the information available on each application form, including the number of the scrip certificate issued by the Commission. The claims register, RG 15, volume 1496 (described elsewhere), is an alphabetical index of all claimants who were awarded scrip by J.A.J. McKenna. The index will also provide researchers with the scrip certificate number assigned to an individual claim. The delivery register, RG 15, volume 1520 (described elsewhere), is an alphabetical index of all scrip delivered to Métis claimants in Manitoba and the North-West Territories. Each entry in the index records all the registration numbers of all records filed under a numerical system, including each claimant's scrip certificate.

Once the certificate registration number is known, researchers can then refer to finding aid 15-23 to find the volume number in RG 15 where the original document is stored. If the scrip certificate is not found in this series, it is always possible that a copy was placed in the applicant's case file, if such was created by the department. The case files were placed in the central registry of the Dominion Lands Branch, and are now retained by Library and Archives Canada as RG 15, series D II 1 (described elsewhere). If a case file was created for a particular claim, the file number will be indicated in the delivery registers (RG 15, volumes 1519 or 1520). To find the case file number, researchers should refer to the claims register (RG 15, volume 1517, described elsewhere) or to the delivery register (RG 15, volume 1520, described elsewhere).

Money Scrip

Dept. of the Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8f, Money Scrip to Métis, 1876-1927, 3.0 m, vols. 1387 to 1403.

This series contains all the cancelled notes for money scrip awarded by the Department of the Interior to Métis claimants of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories. The notes issued by the Manitoba and North-West Commission are not identified in this series as a separate block of records, but instead are inter-filed with the notes awarded by all the Métis scrip commissions. As noted for the previous commission, all claimants for money scrip under the Manitoba and North-West Commission were awarded $240 (there was no distinction made between heads of families and children). The award appears to have been taken as one $80 note and one $160 note. Recipients of $80 scrip are listed, by scrip note number, in finding aid FA15-24, parts 19 to 22; and of $160 scrip in finding aid FA15-24, parts 23 to 25.

To find the money scrip awarded to a particular claimant when the scrip number is not known, researchers should first refer to the delivery register (RG 15, volume 1520, described elsewhere). The latter is an alphabetical index and will provide researchers with the registration numbers of the scrip awarded to a claimant. Once the number is known, researchers can then locate the scrip in finding aid FA15-24. The latter will give the volume number in which the original document will be located.

Land Scrip

Dept. of the Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8i, Land Scrip to Métis, 1885-1917, 1.1 m, vol. 1406 to 1410.

This series contains all the cancelled notes for land scrip awarded by the Department of the Interior to Métis claimants of the North-West Territories. The notes issued by the Manitoba and North-West Territories Commission are not identified in this series as a separate block of records, but instead are inter-filed with the notes awarded by all the North-West scrip commissions. As previously noted, all claimants for land scrip under P.C. 575 were awarded 240 acres (unlike earlier Commissions, there was no distinction made between heads of families and children).

The land scrip retained by Library and Archives Canada are grouped according to the amount of the scrip, and in numerical order (registration number) within each group. Finding aid FA15-13 will guide researchers to the volume in RG 15 where the note is stored; but to use this finding aid researchers must know the scrip registration number. To find the note awarded to a particular claimant when the registration number of the scrip note is unknown, researchers should first refer to the delivery register (RG 15, volume 1520, described elsewhere) to obtain the scrip note number, and then to finding aid FA15-13 to find the RG 15 volume number where the note is stored.

Receipts

Dept. of the Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8j, Receipts for Métis Scrip, 1885-1906, 2.25 m, vols. 1411 to 1420.

Pre-printed receipts were distributed by the Department of the Interior along with money and land scrip. The receipts were issued to the Minister of the Department and were to be signed by scrip recipients when the notes were delivered into their custody. Since scrip was only first issued under the Manitoba Supplementary Commission (P.C. 810, 20 April, 1885), these records date from June 1885. They are part of the documentation pertaining to all the Commissions which followed the Manitoba Supplementary Commission, except the last - the Treaty 11 Commission - which made cash settlements only.
 
Each receipt carries a unique number ranging from 1 to 15,700. The records are maintained by Library and Archives Canada in their numerical order. Finding aid FA15-26, parts 1 to 16, provides access to the records. Under each receipt number, it gives the volume number within the RG 15 record group where the original records are maintained; the name of the recipient; the recipient's application status (heir, child, etc.); the land or money scrip number; the amount of the receipt (in dollars or acres); the date of issue; and sometimes the scrip certificate number and the case file number.
 
In instances when the receipt number is unknown and only the claimant's name is available, researchers should first consult the delivery registers (RG 15, series D II 8m, volume 1520, see description elsewhere). The delivery registers are an alphabetical index to all the recipients of scrip. Among other things, they will give the number of the receipt signed by each claimant. Researchers can then use this number to find the entry for the receipt in finding aid FA15-26. The finding aid, in turn, will give researchers an indication as to which volume in Record Group 15 should be ordered if they wish to obtain access to the original document.

Subject Files

Dept. of the Interior, RG 15, Series D II 1, Dominion Lands Branch, Correspondence, Headquarters, 1871-1946, 213.6 m, vols. 227 to 1176; Microfilm reels T-12176 to T-15542.

A numerically arranged series of subject files created by the Dominion Lands Branch. The series touches on all aspects of land management and natural resource administration by the Department of the Interior, including Métis land claims. The records included in this series contain general correspondence and departmental memoranda relating to rulings, policy, and procedures, which governed the operations of the North-West Half-Breed Commissions. It also contains case files relating to the awards given to individual Métis families. For example, most of the claims investigated by R.C. MacDonald under Order-in-Council, 13 August, 1904, appear to have been filed in this series. The files are numbered sequentially from 1 to 5,644,152 and are listed, in numerical, order in finding aid FA15-5. Under each file number, the finding aid gives the volume number, file title, date range, and subject headings. A copy of the electronic finding aid is available in Archives Search. The case files established by R.C. MacDonald are indexed in RG 15, volume 1531.

Dept. of the Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8 g, General Administrative Records Relating to Métis Scrip, Compiled by N.O. Coté, 1894-1913, 0.3 m, vol. 3171.

Various un-numbered files which are believed to have been used by N.O. Coté in his capacity as a senior administrator in the Department of the Interior. Throughout his lengthly career as a civil servant, Coté served on three separate scrip commissions, and later, as the senior manager of the Lands Patent Branch. The records included in this series summarize departmental procedures, policies, and authorities as they relate to the issuing of scrip to Métis residents of the North-West Territories. Of particular interest are the records relating to the grants awarded to specific families by R.C. Macdonald under the Manitoba and North-West Territories Commission as authorized by Order-in-Council, P.C. 1613, 13 August, 1904.

Registers/Indexes

Dept. of the Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8 m, North-West Half-Breeds and Original White Settlers, Registers and Indexes, 1877-1927, 4.5 m, vols. 1475 to 1555; microfilm reels C-11872 to C-11885.
North-West Half-Breed Claims. Authority: Chap. 54, clause 90, par. (f.), Revised Statutes of Canada, as enacted by sec. 4, 62-63 Victoria, Chap. 16 (1899); and Order in Council of the 2nd March, 1900 [and P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901]

McKenna's nominal register of Métis applicants who filed a scrip claim in 1901 under P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901. The register is organized by declaration (application) number, with each entry noting the name and residence of the applicant, the names of his/her parents, the name of the person for whom the scrip was claimed, the applicant's date of birth, the date of the declaration, the decision of the Commission (whether or not the claim was allowed), the scrip certificate number, the name of the person to whom the scrip was issued, and the nature (land or money) and the amount of the scrip. To use this register when the declaration number (application) number is unknown researchers should refer to the alphabetical index prepared by Commissioner McKenna - that is, RG 15, volume 1517, which is described elsewhere. The alphabetical index will provide researchers with the individual's declaration (application) number.

Claims 001 to 700; RG 15, vol. 1496, Aperture Card Book 79, reel C-11876

[Alphabetical] Index to North-West Half-Breed Claims [as authorized by Order in Council, P.C. 575, 16 March 1901]

McKenna's alphabetical index of applicants who filed a scrip claim in 1901 under P.C. 575, 16 March, 1901, and who are listed in the nominal register described elsewhere (RG 15, volume 1496). Each entry provides the name of the applicant, the name of the community where the application was accepted (i.e., the place of sitting of the commission), the names of the applicant's parents, the declaration (application) number (which serves as a cross reference for the nominal register, RG 15, volume 1496), the decision of the Commission, and general remarks. The latter will sometimes indicate a case file reference number (if such was created by the department). These case files will be found in RG 15, series D II 1 (described elsewhere).

RG 15, vol. 1517, Aperture Card Book 100, reel C-11879

Half-Breed Scrip, Index, Powers of Attorney ...

An alphabetical index to powers of attorney, assigned by Métis claimants, dated 1901 and 1902, closed 12 March, 1903, and then re-opened again sometime after January 1905. The index is organized by claimant's name, with each entry giving the case file number of the claim. These case files will be found in RG 15, series D II 1, described elsewhere.

RG 15, vol. 1530, Aperture Card Book 113, reel C-11881

Index, Orders for Delivery of Half-Breed Scrip, O.C. the 13th August 1904

An alphabetical index of special Métis claims investigated by the Department of the Interior under the authority of Order-in-Council, P.C. 1613, 13 August, 1904. It is organized by the name of the claimant and gives the case file number of the claim. For the most part, the case files are filed in the correspondence registry of the Dominion Lands Branch, RG 15, series D II 1 (see description elsewhere).

RG 15, vol. 1531, Aperture Card Book 114, reel C-11881

Half-Breed Claims Reconsidered under O. in C. the 13th August 1904, Rescinded by O. in C. of 25th May 1910

A register of Métis claims which were originally presented in 1901 to the Manitoba and North-West Territories Commission, chaired by James A.J. McKenna. On preliminary examination, McKenna had either set these claims aside for further consideration by the Department or had rejected them on the basis of their not meeting the criteria laid out to him by the Department. The register is organized by declaration number. Each entry records the name of the claimant; his/her parents' names; the declaration number assigned by the 1901 Commission; and general administrative remarks by departmental personnel. The latter will often outline the decisions of the department and the justification on which each decision was based. The entries will usually also note the case file number in which all correspondence concerning the claim was kept by the Department. Most of these case files were placed within the Dominion Lands Branch central registry, which is now maintained by Library and Archives Canada as RG 15, series D II 1 (see description elsewhere).

Declaration nos. 1 to 775; RG 15, vol. 1521, Aperture Card Book 104, reel C-11880

Register of Delivery of Manitoba and North-West Territory Scrip, Orders in Council of 30th March and 20th April, 1885 [and Subsequent Orders]

These registers document the delivery of scrip to claimants filing under the Manitoba Supplementary Commission, the North-West Commission, the Alberta-Saskatchewan Commission, the Treaty 8, 10, and 5 Commissions, including all their adhesions. The registers are organized alphabetically according to the last name of the claimant. Each entry records the scrip number; the name and address of the person or agent to whom the scrip was issued; the date of scrip delivery; a brief description as to the authority (i.e., the Commission) under which the scrip was awarded; the amount and type of scrip issued; the application number (if applicable); the number and date of the receipt; the case file reference number; the certificate number; and a column for general remarks by departmental administrators. The registers are excellent sources for researchers to find documentation on a claimant's complete scrip record. They provide an alphabetical index to many of the records in RG 15 which have been filed under a numerical system. For example, the scrip certificates, scrip notes and scrip receipts are filed in RG 15 by the document number. The finding aids for these records either do not exist or consist of file lists organized under the numerical system. It can be a very tedious task to find such documents when the number is unknown. The registers described here will provide researchers with these numbers when only the claimant's name is known.
 
For deliveries made under the Manitoba and North-West Territories Commission see RG 15, vol. 1520, Aperture Card Book 103, reel C-11880
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