Inspector of Indian Agencies in British Columbia

Available reels: 6

Document Record

Canada. Dept. of Indian Affairs.
Inspector of Indian Agencies in British Columbia
RG 10 C I 9 b
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
In 1755, the British Crown established the British Indian Department, and responsibility for Indian Affairs rested on the Superintendents of Indian Affairs from 1755 to 1841. After 1843, the Governors General held control of Indian Affairs, but usually delegated much of their responsibility to a series of Civil Secretaries. In 1860, the responsibility for Indian affairs was transferred from the government of Great Britain to the Province of Canada and the responsibility for Indian Affairs was given to the Crown Lands Department Commissions Responsible for Indian Affairs. The responsibility for Indian Affairs rested with various government departments between 1873 and 1966. The Minister of the Interior also held the position of Superintendent General of Indian Affairs after the Indian Affairs Department was established in 1880. From 1950 to 1965, the Indian Affairs portfolio was carried by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. In October 1966, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development was created. Today, the department is known as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Beginning in 1876, Indian matters in British Columbia were administered, as in the East, through a system of agencies with an overall Superintendent. In February 1910, the Superintendent's office was closed and agents directed to conduct all matters of business through headquarters in Ottawa. In the same year, an Inspectorate system was inaugurated with the appointment of three Inspectors of Indian Agencies for the southeastern, southwestern and northern agencies. These individuals, based respectively in Vernon, Victoria and Vancouver were charged with responsibility to inspect and supervise the agencies, Indians and reserves. In 1917, W.E. Ditchburn, who had held the position of Inspector for the Southwestern Inspectorate, was promoted to the post of Chief Inspector for British Columbia and his former post, apparently, was abolished. In the following year the Northern Inspectorate office was also dispensed with. Effective April 1, 1923, Ditchburn took up the new post of Indian Commissioner for British Columbia, but following his death in 1932 the position was apparently not filled. It was abolished in 1935 only to be resurrected in 1936. In 1948, the office of the Inspector of Indian Agencies for the southeast (which unlike its northern and southwestern counterparts had not been abolished in 1917-1918) was reclassified Regional Supervisor of Indian Agencies.
This collection consists of records created and maintained by the Office of the Inspector of Indian Agencies in British Columbia. This series includes letterbooks with copies of letters sent by the Inspector of Indian Agencies, British Columbia, 1910-1920. Each letterbook contains a nominal index. Also included in the series is correspondence received by W.E. Ditchburn when he served as Inspector in the Southwestern Inspectorate (1910-1917) and then as Chief Inspector for British Columbia. Finally, the collection includes 1910 incoming correspondence of K.C. Macdonald, Inspector in the Southeastern Inspectorate.