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Government of Canada Files - Métis Scrip Records
 

 

The federal government created a number of records in its day-to-day administration of the scrip that it issued to Métis residents of Manitoba and the former North-West Territories (as much of western Canada was known prior to the creation of modern-day Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories in 1905). The records generally consist of the following: affidavits and applications, land and money scrip notes, scrip certificates, receipts, and a number of textual files consisting of letters and memoranda outlining government policies, rulings, and procedures. This database provides access to the affidavits and applications only. Although some of these forms pertain to Original White Settlers (the term used by the federal government to refer to people of European ancestry who took up residency in Rupert's Land prior to its transfer to Canada) by far the majority relate to Métis residents.

The affidavits were filed by Métis children in support of their claim to participate in the special 1,400,000-acre land grant identified under section 31 of the Manitoba Act (33 Victoria, chapter 3) and under the Manitoba Supplementary Commission (P.C. 810, 20 April, 1885), and by Métis heads of family under 37 Victoria, chapter 20. The affidavits are declarations of fact; they confirm the background and residency of the individual named in the affidavit. They were made voluntarily, under oath, before a legally appointed commissioner. These documents provide information of interest to genealogists, such as the name of the claimant, his/her date of birth, parents' names, parish affiliation, affidavit number, and claim number. There are three different types of affidavits: Form A, which was used by Métis children over the age of 18; Form B, which was used by Métis children under the age of 18; and Form C, which was used by Métis heads of family. In all cases, the affidavits are filed alphabetically.

The applications were filed by Métis heads of family and their children living in the former North-West Territories. Authority to collect these applicants was granted by the federal government under several orders-in-council. The applications were filed before legally appointed commissioners and each application was witnessed by a member of the community. Once again, the documents provide information of special interest to genealogists, such as the name of the applicant, date and place of birth, the names of his/her parents and their background, the name(s) of spouse and children, and the amount and type of scrip awarded. These documents are also filed alphabetically by name of applicant.

If researchers can not find a particular scrip affidavit or application in this database, they should consult the three central registries that were created by the Dominion Lands Branch of the Department of the Interior. It is always possible that the affidavit or application was withdrawn by departmental administrators and placed in a separate case file. This procedure was a common practice whenever an affidavit or application required special consideration by the department, as in cases when there were questions regarding an applicant's baptismal certificate. By creating a separate case file, the department could keep together in a single folder all correspondence concerning the application. At the moment, these registries are not available on the National Archives' web site.


Further information on other Métis scrip records in the National Archives of Canada and on the scrip process itself can be found in A Guide to the Records of the Métis Scrip Commissions. The guide also contains a bibliography of further readings.

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