First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are collectively referred to as Indigenous people. Discovering their distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music can be a rewarding pursuit for the family historian.
Conducting genealogical research into one's Indigenous ancestry can be particularly challenging due to the difficulty of locating and interpreting records, with different sources often contradicting one another and all reflecting the perspectives of their creators. Additionally, records that contain personal information may be subject to access and privacy legislation or to restrictions placed on them by donors.
Here we will try to untangle some of those challenges and provide genealogists with tools to guide their research efforts. The focus of this page is on Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, though some information on other Indigenous groups is also provided.
Much of the content for this page was adapted from Indigenous Genealogy at Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Anyone conducting indigenous research is strongly advised to consult this resource, available in print at VPL and online. You may also wish to consult directly with Library and Archives Canada staff either in person on Level 6 of the Central Library or by phone (604-666-9699) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
|* B13375 & B13377 missing from collection|
|B13802 - 1868-1897 - delayed||B11391 - 1917-1921||B13359 - 1917-1921|
|B13803 - 1898 - delayed||B13888 - 1873-1922||B13360 - 1922-1926|
|B13868 - 1899 - delayed||B13889 - 1923||B13361 - 1927-1930|
|B13869 - 1900 - delayed||B13891 - 1925||B13362 - 1931-1934|
|B13870 - 1901 - delayed||B13892 - 1926||B13363 - 1935-1937|
|B13871 - 1902 - delayed||B13893 - 1927||B13374 - 1938-1940|
|B13682 - 1903||B13894 - 1928||B13375 - 1941-1944 *|
|B13895 - 1929||B13376 - 1945-1949|
|B13896 - 1930||B13377 - 1950-1956 *|
|B13897 - 1931||B13378 - 1916-1950 - delayed|
|B13898 - 1932|
|Censuses web page.Federal census returns are useful genealogical sources because they list the ethnic origin of every individual inumerated in the census. According to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, entry of the term "Indian" in the federal census returns in itself constitute legal proof of origin for the person concerned. Please consult the Library and Archives Canada|
The indigenous people of Arctic Canada are the Inuit. From 1867 to 1939, the Inuit people fell outside the responsibility of the Department of Indian Affairs. Due to the fact that Section 92 (24) of the British North America Act mentions only "Indians" and no other Indigenous group, the Inuit were considered regular citizens. The Québec government sought compensation for assistance provided to Inuit living within the province, arguing that the Inuit should be a federal responsibility just as Status Indians were. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1939 that, for administrative purposes, the Inuit should be considered as "Indians" and be the responsibility of the federal government. A short time after this ruling, a specific branch in the Department of Mines and Resources was mandated with the welfare of the Inuit.