Indian agent (Canada)

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Indian agent is the title of a position in Canada mandated by the Indian Act of that country. An Indian agent was the chief administrator for Indian affairs in their respective districts, although the title now is largely in disuse in preference to "government agent". The powers of the Indian agent held sway over the lives of all First Nations people in their jurisdictions. Both Indian Act and government agent duties were fused in the original colonial title of gold commissioner, which encompassed both agencies as well as the duties of magistrate, policeman, coroner and surveyor.

Under the pass system in place from 1885 until World War II, a Status Indian was not allowed to leave his or her Indian reserve without a pass signed by the Indian agent and could be arrested if found off reserve without a pass or with a pass that had expired.[1]

Notable Indian agents in Canada included Henry Ross Halpin,[2] Ebenezer McColl,[3] and Alexander McKee.[4]

This title was also used in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries for individuals authorized to interact with Native American tribes on behalf of the U.S. government; see Indian agent.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Halpin, Henry Ross; Elliott, David Raymond (2008). Adventures in the West: Henry Ross Halpin, fur trader and Indian agent. Toronto: Natural Heritage Books. ISBN 9781550028034.
  3. ^ McColl, Frances (1989). Ebenezer McColl, "friend to the Indians", Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Manitoba and Northwest Territories: a biography 1835-1902. Winnipeg: F. McColl. ISBN 0969405308.
  4. ^ Nelson, Larry L (1999). A man of distinction among them: Alexander McKee and the country frontier, 1754-1799. Kent, Ohio; London, England: Kent State University Press. ISBN 0873386205.

See also[edit]