Treaty 11 Commission

Overview

Recognizing that the federal government was about to begin treaty negotiations with the Indians of the Mackenzie River District, the Governor-in-Council authorized the Minister of the Interior, "...in accordance with past practice in such cases, to deal with the claims arising out of the extinguishment of the Indian title of the Halfbreeds resident within the territory covered by the proposed treaty, except those Halfbreeds who have already been dealt with in connection with territory previously ceded by the Indians under treaty" (P.C. 1172, 12 April, 1921). Accordingly, Henry Conroy, and employee of the Department of Indian Affairs and Inspector for Treaty 8, was appointed Commissioner "...to take evidence under oath, to summon persons before him by subpoena and to compel the production of papers and writings" (P.C. 1172, 12 April, 1921).

Unlike previous Commissioners, however, Conroy was only to collect evidence and to transmit this evidence, along with his recommendations, to the Department of the Interior. In his recommendations, Conroy was to take into consideration that the Métis claimant was permanently residing within the territory ceded under treaty. As well, a claimant's rights were to be considered extinguished if, at any time, he/she had joined an Indian band under treaty, even if he/she had discharge themselves from the band. If scrip had been previously issued to both of the claimant's parent, then the claimant's rights were to be considered extinguished; but if only one parent had received scrip, then the claimant's rights would not be affected.

For the first time in the history of the scrip commissions, all eligible claimants under Order-in-Council P.C. 1172, 12 April, 1921, were to receive a one-time cash grant of $240 in lieu of the customary money or land scrip. This change required an amendment to the Dominion Lands Act, which was subsequently passed as 13-14 George V, chapter 44, section 8. Although Order-in-Council P.C. 1172, 12 April, 1921, was originally limited to the area ceded by the signing of Treaty 11, Commissioner Conroy received, and recommended for approval, a few claims from Métis who were resident "...in a small triangular part of the Mackenzie River District, which was previously included in Treaty No. 8, lying southeast of and adjacent to the territory covered by Treaty No. 11 and comprising Fort Smith, Fort Resolution and Hay River,..." (P.C. 471, 26 March, 1924). Since these residents had not been included under a previous commission, Order-in-Council P.C. 471, 26 March, 1924, allowed them to be included under the Treaty 11 Commission "...notwithstanding their residence outside the limits of Treaty No. 11."

During the 1924 season, officers of the Department of the Interior received additional claims by Métis residents of Treaty 11, who "...had no opportunity theretofore to submit their applications to share in the grant in question" (P.C. 1100, 29 July, 1925). The Governor-in-Council authorized the Minister of the Interior to deal with these claims "...in the same manner as were the claims dealt with under Orders in Council...of the 12th April, 1921, and the 26th March, 1924 ..." (P.C. 1100, 29 July, 1925).

Dates

First sittings were conducted by Henry A. Conroy throughout the summer of 1921; however, actual payment was not made to claimants until three years later, from 14 June to 15 September, 1924, when a second round of sittings were undertaken by J.A. McDougal and J.F. Moran. Applications from the second sitting were not settled by the Department until June 1926.

Authority

Orders-in-Council: P.C. 1172, 12 April, 1921; P.C. 471, 26 March, 1924; and P.C. 1100, 29 July, 1925; Statutes: 13-14 Geo. V, c. 44, s. 8, authorizing the Governor in Council to make grants not exceeding $240 in cash, instead of an issue of scrip, in satisfaction of claims of Métis arising out of the extinguishment of their Indian title.

Members

Henry A. Conroy (P.C. 1172, 12 April, 1921)

Reports

Conroy died 27 April, 1922, before the final report was completed; his working papers have not been located.

Sittings

Original sittings by Conroy in 1921 were held at Fort Smith, Fort Providence, Fort McPherson, Fort Resolution, Fort Norman, Fort Good Hope, Fort Rae, Hay River, Fort Wrigley, and Fort Simpson. Additional sittings were later held by J.A. McDougal and J.F. Moran in 1924 at Fort Smith, Fort McPherson, Fort Resolution, Fort Providence, Fort Liard, Fort Good Hope, Hay River, Aklavick, Fort Simpson, Fort Rae, and Arctic Red River.

Awards

172 Métis claims were received by the 1921 sitting of the Commission of which 140 were approved for a payment of $240 each.

Applications

Dept. of Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8d, Applications, 1921-1925, 0.2 m, vol. 1372; microfilm reel C-15011.

Applications made by Métis of the Mackenzie River District from 1921 to 1925. In accordance with P.C. 1172, 12 April, 1921, the award in extinguishment of their Indian title was to be a cash payment of $240, paid by the Department of the Interior. Scrip or land grants in the amount of 240 acres or $240 were not issued by the Department, as with former Métis commissions. An index to the applications can be found in finding aid FA15-22. It can be accessed through Archives Search. If an application can not be found in this series, researchers should examine the central registry of the Dominion Lands Branch (RG 15, Series D II 1, described elsewhere). The file may have been withdrawn from the main applications by departmental officials and set up as a case file in the central registry.


For a complete listing of all Métis applications (both the allowed and the disallowed applications) under the Treaty 11 Commission, researchers should refer to the claims register, which is now retained as RG 15, volume 1495 (described elsewhere).

Receipts

Dept. of Interior, RG 15, Series D II 8d, Applications, 1921-1925, 0.2 m, vol. 1372; microfilm reel C-15011.

The receipts for the $240 cash settlement awarded to Métis resident of the Mackenzie River District by the Treaty 11 Commission are retained with the applications. An index to the applications and receipts can be found in finding aid FA15-22.

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 Métis scrip commissions. It also contains some case files relating to the awards given to individual Métis families. The files are numbered sequentially from 1 to 5,644,152 and are listed, in numerical, order in finding aid FA15-5. The majority of the Treaty 11 Commission's case files retained in this series are available in Archives Search under the name of the claimant. A copy of finding aid FA15-5 can be found in Archives Search

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.
Index to Mackenzie River District NWT Half-Breed Claims, Authorized by Order-in-Council of the 12th April, 1921 (P.C. 1172) and Chap. 44, 13/14 Geo. V, Section 8, Assented to 30-6-1923

An alphabetical index to Métis claimants in the Mackenzie River District which were collected in connection with the signing of Treaty 11. The first set of entries in the register were made in 1921 by Henry A. Conroy. These were later supplemented in 1924 by applications received by J.A. McDougal and J.F. Moran. Both the 1921 and the 1924 entries give the name of the claimant; the date and place of the claimant's birth; the names of the claimant's parents; his/her application number (as assigned by the Commission); the place where the application was made; the date of the application; and comments on whether or not the application was approved, and if approved, if a receipt was issued. In some cases, the number of the claimant's case file is also noted. These case files are now retained by Library and Archives Canada in RG 15, series D II 1, Dominion Lands Branch, Correspondence, which is described elsewhere.

RG 15, vol. 1495, Aperture Card Book 78, reel C-11876
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