An Act Respecting Civilization and Enfranchisement of Certain Indians

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An Act Respecting Civilization and Enfranchisement of Certain Indians

Name of document:

An Act Respecting Civilization and Enfranchisement of Certain Indians

Type of document:

Primary documentation, Act, legislation

Summary of the data:

This legislation, An Act Respecting Civilization and Enfranchisement of Certain Indians, defined the term Indian as:

[O]nly Indians or persons Indian blood or intermarried with Indians [emphasis added], acknowledged as members of Indian Tribes or Bands residing upon lands which have never been surrendered to the Crown (or which having been so surrendered have been set apart or are then reserved for the use of a Tribe or Band of Indians in common), and who themselves reside upon such lands, and have not been exempted from the operation of the next section under the other provisions of this Act ; And such persons and such persons only shall be deemed Indians within the meaning of any provision of this Act or of any other Act or Law in force in any part of this Province by which any legal distinction is made between the rights and liabilities of Indians and those of Her Majesty's other Canadian subjects; And the term "enfranchised Indian" means any person to whom the next section would have been applicable but for the operation of the provisions hereinafter made in that behalf ; And the term "Tribe," includes any Band or other recognized community of Indians. (cap. 9, sec. 1)

Additionally, this legislation stipulated that appointed Commissioners were to evaluate the level of education, literacy and moral character of male 'Indians', and if deemed suitable, then he would be enfranchised under this act, removing the distinction between the legal rights of 'Indians' and 'Crown subjects.' Any 'Indian' enfranchised was to be given a piece of land no larger than fifty acres, out of the lands reserved or set apart for the use of his Tribe. If the land was then surrendered to the Crown or sold to their benefit, the enfranchised Indian was entitled to the proceeds of the annuity which was previously surrendered. The Wife, widow and descendants of said enfranchised person are also enfranchised. Except if the widow or female descendent marries someone who is not enfranchised, then she will no longer be enfranchised.

Important dates mentioned in the document:

1859: Year this statute was enacted

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Relevant citations:

Canada. The Consolidated Statutes of Canada: Proclaimed and Published Under the Authority of the Act 22 Vict. cap. 29, A.D. 1859. Toronto: S. Derbishire and G. Desbarats, Printer to the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, 1859. Print.

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