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Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements

By John Leslie


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The Organization of the Collection

The structure and numbering schemes for the Indian Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements (ITS) collection were created by officials of the Indian Affairs Department in the 1880s, before the collection's transfer to the Public Archives. Indian Affairs assigned each transaction a consecutive ITS registration number; Treaty 60 and Treaty 61, for example, are the Robinson-Superior and Robinson-Huron Treaties of 1850. The Indian Affairs Department numbering system is quirky. In order to add new discoveries to the collection, officials assigned fractions and letters to the original consecutive number. For instance, Treaty 27¼ of 1822 is the definitive version of the preliminary Treaty 27 of 1819. A reserve land surrender in southwestern Ontario involving the Chippewa of Caradoc, on February 13, 1849, has the consecutive registration number of 582½ c. The ITS numbering system appears in published collections.

More than half of the documents in the ITS collection include attachments, such as maps, plans, orders-in-council and annuity lists. Textual attachments came in a variety of formats: manuscript originals, copies, duplicates, and lithographs. Archivists and researchers needed a more effective means to identify specific documents in the collection. In 1991, the Government Archives Division designed the "IT" system of identification. For example, the Robinson-Superior and Robinson-Huron Treaties, with the ITS numbers of 60 and 61, were assigned IT numbers 147 and 148 respectively. The IT numbering scheme is the key to locating documents on microfilm, microfiche and colour transparencies.

The ITS and IT numbers must be distinguished from the numbering system used for the post-Confederation western treaties negotiated between 1871 and 1921. As an example, Treaty 6 is the official title of a treaty negotiated in 1876 that covers the central portion of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The ITS number is the number assigned to it by Indian Affairs. IT numbers assigned by archivists were given to Treaty 6 and its adhesions in order to distinguish between the various documents.

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