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Record Group (RG) 10 (Indian Affairs) Inventory

Access the fonds-level description for RG 10 / R216.


The records found in RG 10 contain the historical records relating to Indian Affairs created by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and its predecessors. They include files, correspondence, letters, and transcripts on all aspects of Indian administration for both headquarters and the field offices.

Among the activities of the Indian Affairs Program of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development are the management of Indian reserves and lands, trust funds, education, and agriculture. This management has been carried out through a hierarchical structure of band, district, and regional offices across Canada. All records in RG 10 are organized into four separate series: Pre-Confederation, Headquarters, Field, and Land records.

  1. Pre-Confederation Records: The records of the Imperial and Colonial Governments were created prior to the establishment of a formal file system; consequently, these records, which date from the 1700's, were kept and arranged in chronological order as they were received by the various offices.

  2. Headquarters Records: The headquarters records are extremely valuable for documenting department-wide policies and providing a national view of Indian affairs. Useful general indexes to these records include:
    • the Red (Eastern) Series Index (Finding aid 10-10);
    • the Black (Western) Series Index (Finding aid 10-13);
    • the Central Registry Series Index (Finding aids 10-18, 10-19, 10-20, 10-21, 10-22, 10-24, 10-25, 10-26, 10-27, 10-28, 10-29, 10-93, 10-175, 10-50, 10-75, 10-103, 10-73, 10-45, 10-32, 10-89, microfiche Finding aids 10-128 and 10-129);
    • the School Files Index (Finding aid 10-17);
    • and history card Indexes to Headquarters Records (microfiche Finding aid 10-96).

  3. Field Office Records: The field offices have gone through numerous re-organizations, amalgamations and closures over the last one hundred and fifty years. Records produced by the field offices, such as superintendencies, commissions, agencies, districts, or regional offices may contain unique information and provide a different perspective on administration of the department's programs. The National Archives of Canada has a selected, yet sparse, amount of material from the field offices.

  4. Land Records: These records include land agreements involving treaties, surrenders, inspections, patents, claims, leases, permits, plans, surveys, location ticket registers, natural resources and related documents.

The primary source of records relating to Native peoples is Record Group 10; however, associated documents may be scattered through a broad range of federal government records. The following list provides a few of the Record Groups in which records relating to Indian Affairs and Native peoples may be found. This is not a comprehensive list.

RG 2 Privy Council Office
RG 15 Department of the Interior
RG 18 Royal Canadian Mounted Police
RG 22 Indian Affairs and Northern Development
RG 23 Department of Fisheries and Oceans
RG 29 National Health and Welfare
RG 30 Canadian National Railways
RG 84 Canadian Parks Service
RG 85 Northern Affairs Program
RG 88 Surveys and Mapping Branch
RG 91 Yukon Territorial Records

To date, four guides have been produced which trace the administration of bands in specific areas of Canada, they are:

Finding Aid 10-12: Guide to Indian Bands and Agencies in Western Canada, 1871-1959;

Finding Aid 10-157: Guide to Indian Affairs Field Office Organization in Ontario, 1845-1990;

Finding Aid 10-202: Guide to Indian Bands and Agencies in British Columbia, 1875-1990.

Finding Aid 10-181 (available on site only): Guide to Indian Affairs Field Office Organization in Northwestern British Columbia.