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Description found in Archives
Series consists of
Series part of
Place of creation
No place, unknown, or undetermined
Language of material
Scope and content
Series consists of incoming correspondence and related records (reports, returns, petitions, accounts, land records, censuses, school reports, presents lists), letterbooks of out-going correspondence, and accounts. The rationale for the bringing together many years ago of this material into a common series is no longer clear. The common theme of these records seems to be their relationship to Duncan Campbell Napier in the various positions he held within the Indian Affairs administration over more than a quarter century. For the most part, the records appear to have been created or maintained by Napier in his capacity as the Secretary of Indian Affairs and Resident Agent at Montreal, or later as a visiting superintendent in the Indian Department administration in Canada East.
Conditions of access
Copyright belongs to the Crown. In order to protect the fragile originals, the microfilm copies of these records must be consulted rather than the originals.
Biography / Administrative history
In 1825, Lieutenant-Colonel D.C. Napier was appointed to the position of Resident Agent for Indian Affairs at Montreal. He also took up the position of Secretary of Indian Affairs in the office of the Superintendent General and Inspector General of Indian Affairs, Sir John Johnson, located at Montreal. With the appointment in December 1826 of Major General H. C. Darling as Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs (effectively taking over the duties of head of the Indian Department from the ailing Johnson), the centre of power within the administration of Indian Affairs shifted to Quebec, where Darling was stationed. Napier remained in charge of duties in Montreal. In 1828 the Indian Department was further reorganized. Both the office of Superintendent General and Inspector General of Indian Affairs and that of Deputy Superintendent General ceased to exist. Darling, who had occupied the latter post, was appointed Chief Superintendent, a position created to replace that of Superintendent General and Inspector General of Indian Affairs. Darling left almost immediately for England and Napier acted in his absence, while remaining at Montreal and retaining the position of Resident Agent and Secretary of Indian Affairs. In 1830 the Indian Department in Upper Canada was separated from that in Lower Canada. The Indian Department in Lower Canada was placed under the control of the Military Secretary at Quebec. Napier was moved to the Military Secretary's office there, to act as Secretary of Indian Affairs, under the direction of the Military Secretary. Late in 1840, Napier removed to Montreal but continued in his duties as Secretary of Indian Affairs there. With the union of the Canadas, the head office of the Indian Department remained at the seat of government but Napier, the Secretary of Indian Affairs with responsibility for Indian matters in Canada East, remained in Montreal. The position of Secretary of Indian Affairs was, in effect, the senior Indian Department post in Canada East in that the Secretary was charged with the general superintendence of the several tribes of Indians in that part of the Province of Canada, responsible for dealing with complaints from the Indians, for the superintendence of the local agents, for inspecting the accounts, for visiting shcools, for keeping the records of the Indian office, and for reporting to the Governor General on Indian Department activities in Canada East. Many departments of the colonial government were re-modelled at the time of the Union. The management of Indian Affairs, however, was not immediately re-organized. Rather, a major commission of inquiry into the operations of the Indian Department in both Canada East and Canada West was appointed by the Governor General, Sir Charles Bagot, in October 1842. The Bagot Commission reported its findings in January 1844. The resulting re-organization of the administration of Indian Affairs saw the Civil Secretary to the Governor General placed in overall charge of the Indian Department, as Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. Within this new organizational structure, however, Napier remained in a position of supervision (as visiting superintendent) over Indian matters in Canada East, until his retirement in 1857. RG10 General Inventory
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