First Nations and Métis Records

The Provincial Archives has a number of collections that may be of interest to anyone doing family history research about First Nations and/or Métis people.  The following list is a sample of some collections that may be of interest:

  • Robert Doucette fonds
  • Campbell Innes fonds
  • A.S. Morton fonds
  • Saskatchewan, Department of Natural Resources
  • Canada, Dept. of Indian and Northern Affairs fonds
  • Oral History collection

However, because there are all kinds of interesting records scattered throughout our collection, we do recommend that you contact us with your specific research questions and search Threshold for more detailed information.

Although the Provincial Archives does have a variety of records in our Collection which relate to First Nations and Métis people and communities in Saskatchewan, the most comprehensive collection of archival records regarding Aboriginal peoples in Canada is held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC). 

There are a number of excellent resources on LAC’s Genealogy and Family History Website on how to research your First Nations and Métis ancestors.  The online guide Researching Your Aboriginal Ancestry at Library and Archives Canada outlines the types of records available at LAC, the historical context in which these records were created, the tools and databases available to search these records, and how to access the records.

Especially important to anyone researching Aboriginal history are the records created by the Department of Indian Affairs (Record Group 10, or the Red Series) and the Department of the Interior (Record Group 15, or the Black Series).  These records are available on microfilm, and many of the records from this collection have also been digitized and can be accessed through an online search of the LAC database for the Red and Black Series.

When using this database to search for microfilmed materials in the Red and Black Series, be sure to take notes on the volume number, file number and microfilm reel numbers for any materials from this collection that you wish to view.  You may then request the microfilm reels that you need through the interlibrary loans department at your local library.  Microfilm copies of RG 10 and RG 15 materials are also available at numerous institutions across Canada, and some of these films are available in the following Saskatchewan facilities:

  • The Provincial Archives' Regina office has the following microfilm reels from the RG 10 Black Series:
    • C-9690
    • C-10098 to C-10187
    • C-13906 to C-13907
    • C-13909
    • C-13933 to C-13936
    • C-14250
    • C-14857 to C-14868
    • C-14880
    • T-1455 to T-1458
    • T-1460
    • T-1469
  • The University of Saskatchewan library in Saskatoon has a listing of its microfilm holdings of RG 10 and RG 15 materials at http://library.usask.ca/murray/Gov-Pubs/rg10.php.
  • The First Nations University of Canada library in Regina also has a listing of a number of microfilm reels of RG 10 materials in their holdings at http://fnuniv.ca/images/library/Documents/rg10_holdings_2011.pdf.

Another important source of information on First Nations people are the annual reports of the Department of Indian Affairs.  These reports were originally published by the federal government in the Sessional Papers of Canada, which are available in the reading room of the Provincial Archives, Regina office, and which are fully digitized and available online at: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/indianaffairs/index-e.html.  The history section of this website also provides a listing of the various federal departments that were responsible for the administration of Indian Affairs over the years.

For researchers interested in Métis scrip records available at LAC, the Guide to the Records of the Métis Scrip Commissions outlines the historical context in which Métis scrip records were created and provides information on how to search these records.

Another great source for searching for archival documents regarding the Métis, including scrip records, is the Métis National Council’s Historical Online Database.  This database is searchable, and search results are presented in table format with a link to the scan of the original archival document. 

The Glenbow Museum and Archives, in Calgary, Alberta, also has a variety of excellent materials related to the history of the Métis, including the Charles Denney Métis Genealogical Collection.  A number of collections and books on the Métis are highlighted on their website at http://www.glenbow.org/collections/archives/genealogy/

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) Archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is another great source of information on the Métis, because the HBC was a major employer of Métis people during the fur trade.  Visit their website for further information at  http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/.

General inquiries regarding genealogical information about First Nations and Métis people may be directed to the following institutions:

  • Elders, members of First Nations band councils, and First Nations and Métis governments
  • Provincial vital statistics offices for birth, marriage and death records. Access and fees vary from province to province. In British Columbia and Ontario, early records have been transferred to the provincial archives.  
  • Church archives, because of the early involvement of Christian denominations in missions to First Nations and Métis people, and because of Church involvement in the education of First Nations and Métis people.
  • The various provincial archives: These institutions hold unique records relating to provincial government programmes for First Nations and Métis peoples and private records of Indian leaders, clergy, educators and others. Links to Canadian archives are found on Archives Canada’s website.

A valuable guidebook which outlines sources available to First Nations and Métis family history researchers is Tracing Your Aboriginal Ancestors in the Prairie Provinces, which is available for purchase from the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society.