Indian reserve

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As Indian reserves ( English ) or réserves indiennes ( French ) are Canadian Indian reservations referred.


Occasionally the term Indian is replaced by Native or First Nation in English , and indiennes by autochtones in French . First Nation, on the other hand, is sometimes equated with the associated reservation.

The fact that the area of ​​a single tribe, which is referred to as reserve , often consists of several pieces of land, which in turn are referred to as reserves , leads to further conceptual differentiation .

Structure and distribution

615 recognized First Nations have around 3000 reserves in Canada . In British Columbia , in particular, tribal property is highly fragmented. 198 tribes own 1702 reservations. In Ontario there are 139 tribes on 206 reservations, in Saskatchewan 70 on 602, in Manitoba 63 on 195, in Alberta 48 on 137, in Québec 39 tribes on 44 reservations, in the Northwest Territories 26 tribes on 29 reservations, in Yukon 18 Tribes on 15 reservations, in New Brunswick / Nouveau-Brunswick 15 on 26, in Nova Scotia 13 on 39 and finally in Newfoundland and Labrador 3 tribes on 3 reservations and on Prince Edward Island 2 tribes on 4 reservations.


The first reserve was the area created by the Royal Proclamation of 1762 , which was to be reserved for the Indians of British North America after the end of the French and Indian War. It stretched from Florida and New Orleans through Louisiana east of the Mississippi and west of the Appalachians , and encompassed much of what is now Canada north of the Great Lakes and south of Rupert's Land . There was also a buffer between the province of Québec and Rupert's Land from Lake Nipissing to Newfoundland .

Legal position

According to the relevant Indian law, the Indian Act , an Indian reserve is a piece of land whose legal possession has been set apart by the British royal family for the use and benefit of an Indian tribe (band ) . But land that has not been separated from the Crown can also be called a reserve .

Since the reservations in Canada are basically tribal land, this can neither be assigned, lent, nor loaned to non-tribal members. Nor can it be expropriated or confiscated . Since a significant part of economic processes is based on loans, but these are secured by land and house ownership, owners of reserve land can only obtain mortgages in a roundabout way . Through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation , Indians can join a trust that in turn issues loans to build or renovate houses. The second option is not to secure mortgages by owning real estate, but to have them secured by the government.

The expropriation or reduction of reserves can only take place on the basis of a law, which has, however, happened quite often. Especially raw material companies are preferred by the legislation of the provinces.

Reservation land and personal property of the tribes are exempt from taxes. However, contrary to popular belief in Canada, companies are not tax exempt. The limited sovereignty of the First Nations has meant that tobacco and other highly taxed goods are cheaper to buy here because they are subject to lower taxes. In addition, laws prohibiting smoking, for example, are not valid here without the approval of the tribal bodies.

See also


  • Cole Harris: Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance, and Reserves in British Columbia , Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press 2002.

Web links


  1. See Indian Act .