Royal BC Museum Front (Wiki Media)

Royal BC Museum Front (Wiki Media)

Museum makes historic Indian Reserve Commission document accessible to public

Ledger details decisions that led to creation of reserves on Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

The Royal BC Museum is making a historic ledger documenting decisions from the Indian Reserve Commission accessible to Indigenous communities and all British Columbians.

The book from 1876 – Volume One of the “Journal of Proceedings” – was acquired by the museum in 2018 from a private seller for $15,000 and has been digitized. It details decisions between the Joint Provincial and Federal Indian Reserve Commission and Indigenous elders and chiefs on lands later designated as reserves on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Established in 1875, the Joint Indian Reserve Commission was created by the governments of Canada and B.C. to fix boundaries of Indian Reserves in the province. According to the Royal BC Museum, it is believed no other copy of Volume One exists.

The book is comprised of daily entries from November 1876 to June 1877 by the three-person committee made up of Alexander Caulfield Anderson, Archibald McKinlay and Gilber Malcom Sproat. The three met with Indigenous communities on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island to discuss the creation of reserves, according to the Royal BC Museum.

READ ALSO: Royal BC Museum asks for pandemic stories, photos for COVID-19 exhibit

The first quarter of the volume contains several small, coloured ink drawings of reserves on the mainland. The maps for Vancouver Island are more roughly sketched in black ink, likely by a different person according to the Royal BC Museum. At various points in the volume, correspondence and accounts of statements by Indigenous peoples, settlers and personal letters have been placed between pages.

While the ledger’s core information is preserved elsewhere in official records, it was not microfilmed or digitized until now.

“It is an interesting read, providing new insight into the work of the Joint Reserve Commission,” said Dianne Hinkley, research director for the Cowichan Tribes and a member of the Royal BC Museum’s Indigenous Advisory and Advocacy Committee.

Chief executive of the Royal BC Museum Jack Lohman said the volume reflects the process of colonialism and serves as the official record of meetings and dates of decisions at each community.

“The Royal BC Museum anticipates the volume will be of great interest to Indigenous communities in B.C. documented within, and we will ensure all British Columbians have access to the contents,” Lohman said.

Librarian and Archivist of Canada Leslie Weir said the second volume of the ledger has been digitized by Library and Archives Canada as part of its We Are Here: Sharing Stories initiative.

READ ALSO: Repatriation efforts work to heal and connect through history: Royal BC Museum

“[Library and Archives Canada] acknowledges the significance of these two volumes for recognizing the history of First Nations in British Columbia,” Weir said, adding that they aim to increase access to Indigenous-related content in its collection “as part of its commitment to move forward on the path toward reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and the Metis Nation.”

Royal BC Museum staff have photographed, digitized and described the contents of Volume One and the journal is available to the public at search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/joint-indian-reserve-commission-journal-of-proceedings-volume-i.

A finding aid listing all of the Indigenous communities visited by the Commission is also available here and a

a comprehensive webpage about the volume here.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

IndigenousRoyal BC Museum

Just Posted

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

North Saanich has started the design of a crosswalk at the intersection of Mills and Littlewood roads near Garden Child Care Centre, whose owner Tracey McCullough has been calling for such a sidewalk. As such, she has been echoing a previous appeal by the building’s owner, Heather and Cory Hastings, standing respectively with seven-year-old Jack Hastings and five-year-old Felix Hastings. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich moves ahead with crosswalk near child care centre

Crosswalk proposed for Littlewood and Mills roads parts of approved active transportation plan

Colwood city council did a last minute adjustment to this year’s budget, dropping the planned property increase to five per cent. Last year they didn’t increase taxes at all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood agrees to 5% tax increase for 2021, deferring some expenses to next year

Last-minute changes will save the typical Colwood homeowner $56

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read