Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

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Departments of the Government of Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Develompent
Affaires autochtones et du développement du Nord canadien
Minister John Duncan (Canadian politician)
Deputy Minister Michael Wernick
Established 1966
Responsibilities First Nations
Northwest Territories
Yukon (external issues only)
Employees 3500+
Department Website
Terrasses de la Chaudière houses the agency headquarters

The Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (FIP: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, French: Affaires autochtones et du développement du Nord canadien, AADNC) (formerly Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) is the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for policies relating to Aboriginal peoples in Canada, that comprise the First Nations (Indians),[1] Inuit[2] and Métis.[3] Its headquarters are in Terrasses de la Chaudière in Hull, Gatineau, Quebec.[4]

The term "Indian" as referenced in the department's former name refers to Status Indians defined by the Indian Act. Indian remains in place for "First Nations" groups as the legal term used in the Canadian Constitution. However its usage outside such situations has fallen into decline as has the term Eskimo.[5] Aboriginals is more commonly used when referring to the three groups of indigenous peoples as a whole.[6] It also refers to self-identification of Aboriginal people who live within Canada claiming rights of Sovereignty or Aboriginal title to lands. The department is overseen by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, currently John Morris Duncan.



Aboriginal Affairs

In 1755, the British Crown established the British Indian Department, and responsibility for Indian Affairs rested on the Superintendents of Indian Affairs from 1755 to 1841. After 1843, the Governors General held control of Indian Affairs, but usually delegated much of their responsibility to a series of Civil Secretaries. In 1860, the responsibility for Indian affairs was transferred from the government of Great Britain to the Province of Canada and the responsibility for Indian Affairs was given to the Crown Lands Department Commissions Responsible for Indian Affairs.

The federal government's legislative responsibilities for Indians and Inuit derive from section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 and responsibility was given to the Secretary of State for the Provinces Responsible for Indian Affairs. In 1876, the Indian Act, which remains the major expression of federal jurisdiction in this area, was passed and a series of treaties[7] were concluded between Canada and the various Indian bands across the country. The responsibility for Indian Affairs and Northern Development rested with various government departments between 1873 and 1966. The Minister of the Interior also held the position of Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs after the Indian Affairs Department was established in 1880. In 1939, federal jurisdiction for Indian peoples was interpreted by the courts to apply to the Inuit. A revised Indian Act was passed in 1951.

From 1950 to 1965, the Indian Affairs portfolio was carried by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. On October 1, 1966, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development was created as a result of the Government Organization Act, 1966.[8] Effective June 13, 2011, the department was renamed the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.[9]

Northern Development

The Northern Development part of the department has its origins in the Department of the Interior, a body created by then Prime Minister John A. Macdonald for the purpose of administering the Dominion Lands Act of 1872. When the Department of the Interior dissolved in 1936 (with the Natural Resources Transfer Acts returning sovereignty over their own natural resources to the Prairie provinces), Indian Affairs fell under the purview of the Department of Mines and Resources. However, the need for social and health-care services in the North led to the establishment of the Northern Administration and Lands branch in 1951, which led to the creation of the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources in 1953. This became the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in 1966 and then the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in 2011.[10][9] Under the Federal Identity Program, the department is known as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

Annual Arctic expeditions

Beginning in the early 20th century, the Canadian government sponsored annual expeditions to the Canadian North. These expeditions yielded extensive photographic documentation of the lives of northern indigenous peoples by participating explorers, engineers, scientists and medical staff.

Explorer, photographer, filmmaker, writer and lecturer Richard S. Finnie accompanied numerous expeditions to the North. His first voyage was aboard Captain Bernier in 1924. During the 1930–1931 expedition to the Western Arctic, Finnie served as filmmaker. Lachlan T. Burwash, an exploratory engineer with the Department of the Interior, made a survey of the east coasts of Hudson Bay and James Bay, and the Belcher Islands in the late 1920s. Zoologist Joseph Dewey Soper travelled to the Baffin Island (Qikiqtaaluk) region in the late 1920s in order to document the landscape, as well as the plant and bird life. J.G. Wright, Superintendent of Eastern Arctic Patrol and National Film Board photographer, served on the 1945–1946 expedition sponsored by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. As the Regional Director of Family Allowances for Yukon and the Northwest Territories, S.J. Bailey served as part of the Eastern Arctic Patrol beginning in the late 1940s.

Department Mandate

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) is responsible fulfilling federal government obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North and on lands held in trust. AANDC delivers its programs through partnerships with Aboriginal communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements. AANDC also works with urban Aboriginal people, Métis and Non-Status Indians (many of whom live in rural areas) through the Office of the Federal Interlocutor.[11] AANDC also manages the resources and lands of federal lands, including land and subsurface leases and resource royalties.


Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has offices in ten (10) regions, at headquarters and to deal with oil and gas leases. The offices are further divided into the broad divisions of treaties and aboriginal government; lands and economic development and education and social development. Northern Develompent is represented in only the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut (NU) regional offices and headquarters.

"The Nunavut Project"

The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was implemented in 1993 between the Inuit of the Nunavut Settlement Area and the Government of Canada subject to the Constitution Act of 1982. The territory of Nunavut was formed in 1999. AANDC has major responsibilities for managing the lands and resources of Nunavut.

With respect to the Inuit of Nunavut, the department and its Minister have the challenge of implementing the Conciliator’s Final Report, dated March 1, 2006 on the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Implementation Contract Negotiations for the Second Planning Period 2003-2013 "The Nunavut Project" authored by Thomas Berger.[12] This report recommends an increase in Inuit participation in Nunavut's federal and territorial public service.

See also


  1. ^ "Civilization.ca-Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage-Culture". Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. Government of Canada. May 12, 2006. http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/tresors/ethno/etb0170e.shtml. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  2. ^ "Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada)-ICC Charter". Inuit Circumpolar Council > ICC Charter and By-laws > ICC Charter. 2007. http://inuitcircumpolar.com/index.php?auto_slide=&ID=374&Lang=En&Parent_ID=&current_slide_num=. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  3. ^ "In the Kawaskimhon Aboriginal Moot Court Factum of the Federal Crown Canada" (pdf). Faculty of Law. University of Manitoba. 2007. p. 2. http://www.umanitoba.ca/law/newsite/kawaskimhon_factums/FINALWrittenSubmissionsofFederalCrown_windsor.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  4. ^ "Contact Us." Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Retrieved on February 4, 2011. "Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Terrasses de la Chaudière 10 Wellington, North Tower Gatineau, Quebec." and "Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Room 2107 10 Wellington Street Gatineau, QC." Address in French: "Affaires indiennes et du Nord Canada Terrasses de la Chaudière 10, rue Wellington, Tour Nord Gatineau (Québec)." and "Affaires indiennes et du Nord Canada Pièce 2107 10, rue Wellington Gatineau, (QC)."
  5. ^ ""Eskimo" vs. "Inuit"". Expansionist Party of the United States. http://www.expansionistparty.org/Eskimo.html. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  6. ^ "Terminology". Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ap/tln-eng.asp. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  7. ^ Selected Treaties from the National Archives of Canada
  8. ^ Departments that have been responsible for Indian Affairs
  9. ^ a b [http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/aand-eng.asp "Change to the Department's Name"
  10. ^ departments that have been responsible for Northern Affairs
  11. ^ About INAC
  12. ^ The Nunavut Project

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