Archives Search

Search only: Library, Archives Advanced Search, Ancestors, Images, Search All

To submit a comment, contact

Search Help

Warning: Descriptive record is in process. These materials may not yet be available for consultation.

Description found in Archives

Nova Scotia records [textual record]. 

Series consists of



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

0.45 m of textual records

Scope and content

Series consists of sundry records created and/or maintained by the Department of Indian Affairs and relating to Indian matters in Nova Scotia. Many of the records appear to have been created or maintained by Samuel Fairbanks. A few records post-date Fairbanks' years with the Department. Volumes 459-461 contain correspondence, accounts, land petitions and returns relating to Indian communities and reserves in Nova Scotia, and each volume contains a schedule of contents. Pre-Confederation material in these volumes dates primarily, but not exclusively, from the years 1852-1867. The post-Confederation records date mainly from the years 1868-1871 and include correspondence between Fairbanks and Joseph Howe and Hector Langevin (his two superiors in Ottawa), incoming correspondence to Fairbanks, drafts and copies of Fairbanks' out-going correspondence, and a few original incoming letters to Howe and Langevin from Fairbanks which bear Secretary of State docket covers (suggesting that they were records maintained at headquarters in Ottawa). The volumes also contain numerous land petitions with sketches and plans. Volume 1718 contains an interest paylist from Ship Harbour, Halifax County, Nova Scotia, paid by Indian Superintendent A. J. Boyd in 1919.

Textual records
Microfilm reel C-13329
90: Open
Textual records
Microfilm reel C-13330
90: Open
Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
from 459 to 461
90: Open
Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
32: Restricted by law
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

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.

Finding aid 10-1 is a computer generated volume list. 10-1 (Electronic)

Biography / Administrative history

Under the terms of the Constitution Act, 1867, responsibility for the administration of Indian Affairs was assigned to the federal government. This delineation of responsibility was given concrete expression the following year in the passage of An Act Providing for the Organization of the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada and for the Management of Indian and Ordnance Lands (31 Vict., c.42 - assented to 22 May 1868). Of significance to the Indian population of Nova Scotia was the fact that this legislation repealed provincial statutes governing the administration of Indian affairs and vested Indian lands in that province in the Crown in right of Canada, under the management of the Secretary of State of Canada. Provision was also made under s.39 of the Act for the appointment of agents to carry out the provisions of the legislation. This legislation paved the way for the appointment of federal Indian agents to replace the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Nova Scotia. In September 1868, Samuel Fairbanks, who as Commissioner of Crown Lands in the pre-Confederation colonial government in Nova Scotia had had responsibility for Indian matters, was appointed as the federal government's "agent for Indian Affairs in the Province of Nova Scotia" (Order in Council 816, 18 September 1868). From his headquarters in Halifax, Fairbanks had responsibility for the entire Indian population of the province until April 1871 when, for the purposes of Indian administration, Nova Scotia was divided into 7 districts and local agents were appointed for each district.

Additional information

Source of title
Title is based on the contents of the series.

No further accruals are expected.

Arrangement note
Previous inventories of the records of the Indian and Inuit Affairs Program in National Archives custody have identified this series as "Nova Scotia Agency" records. This lable is something of a misnomer in that it suggests that an administrative unit of that name either created or gathered and maintained the records. For a brief period immediately after Confederation there was a sole Indian agent responsible for Indian matters in the province. However, whether the area of his responsibility was ever known as the "Nova Scotia Agency" is questionable. Moreover, while many of the records in the series may have been created or maintained by the sole agent, Samuel Fairbanks - they date from both his pre-Confederation period of responsibility for Indian matters in the colony of Nova Scotia and from his years as the federal government's agent for Indian affairs - there are inexplicable anomalies. The records in this series which date from the pre-Confederation period are not the problem. That the Department of Indian Affairs would have taken custody from the colonial government of a number of pre-Confederation records required for continuity of the Indian administration is not inconceivable. Just such an appropriation may explain the existence in this series of a number of documents from the 1850s and 1860s and, indeed, a few from as early as 1786, 1810 and 1818. Possibly such records were even in Fairbanks' custody (given his colonial period responsibilities for Indian matters in Nova Scotia) at the time at which the federal government took over responsibility for Indian affairs in the province or were transferred to federal custody at that time. The problem lies with those records in the series which could not have possibly been either created or gathered and maintained by Fairbanks. There are a few individual documents in the series dating to 1894 and a paylist from 1919, long after Fairbanks' tenure of office. It seems that certain records relating to Indian matters in Nova Scotia were brought together on the basis of their subject matter rather than their provenance by both the Department of Indian Affairs prior to the transfer of the records to the National Archives and by the National Archives after the transfer of custody. The placement of these records together in one series has to be seen, then, as somewhat artificial.

Availability of other formats note
Microfilmed copies of volumes 459-461 are available on reels C-13329 to C-13330. Volume 1718 has not been microfilmed.