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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Greater Victoria housing market sees positive bump in June

Sales up by 76.8 per cent compared to May

Owners say loss of parking pushes businesses to the brink

New Penny Farthing patio ‘will be like New Orleans, or Las Vegas’

Saanich plugs into $100,000 government grant for 20 new EV chargers

Six chargers to be installed at four municipal parks

Saanich woman says sexual assault was dismissed by police because of her ‘body language’

Patrol officers investigate sexual assault files, make decisions on what goes to Crown counsel

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight in Victoria

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Playing his tune

Musician Daniel Morel breaks out a tune with his harmonica in front… Continue reading

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Most Read