Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia: Indian Reserve Maps

User Collection Public

This digital collection includes 362 scans of cartographic records held by the Surveyor General of BC that relate to Indian reserve land in British Columbia. The plans and maps include originals, copies and tracings created before or during the time of the Joint Indian Reserve Commission, later the Indian Reserve Commission (IRC). Some plans are signed by Indian Reserve Commissioners and/or approved by the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works in BC.

The IRC was created by the Government of Canada in 1876, the same year the first federal Indian Act was passed. The purpose of the IRC was to determine Indian reserve lands in BC and to resolve disputes over the allocation and boundaries of pre-Confederation Indian reserve lands created by James Douglas as chief factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company and governor of the Colony of BC, and the cutting back of those lands by Joseph Trutch as Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor General of BC. The IRC commissioners represented the federal and provincial governments and held differing opinions regarding reserve size and the recognition of Aboriginal title. Reserves allotted by the IRC continued to be a source of conflict between the governments of BC and Canada and were later the subject of the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission and the Ditchburn-Clark report.

These maps do not represent the current legal boundaries of Indian reserves in the province of British Columbia but provide historical context related to the development of these boundaries.

LTSA is partnering with the University of Victoria Libraries to provide public access to historic records of Indigenous interest for purposes of research and education. LTSA is committed to advancing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

Related materials:
See also Land Title and Survey Authority of BC: Early BC Maps, accessible through the University of Victoria’s Digital Collections’ Vault.

For a history of the Surveyor General of BC, see: History of the Surveyor General - LTSA.

Resource type Subject Genre Location
  • Records in collection must not re-sold or redistributed for profit. Reproductions of material in this collection must credit the LTSA as source. To purchase high-resolution digital files of these materials, contact Requests must cite the Surveyor General Vault map number or other unique identifier listed on the catalogue record.

Parent Collections (1)

Works (362)

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