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Canada. Dept of the Interiorz

  • GA 4
  • Primary Agency
  • 1873-1936

In 1869, the Government of Canada finalized an agreement with the Hudson’s Bay Company to acquire Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, an area that incorporates all of the present-day provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, part of British Columbia and all of Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. To centralize the administration and promote the settlement and development of this newly-acquired territory, the Department of the Interior was established by the federal government in 1873. During its 63 years of existence, the Department established a multitude of branches and sub-agencies, with most focused on its core areas of operation related to land sales and survey, First Nations and Métis relations, natural resource development and immigration in western Canada. For periods of time, the Department also administered functions of government that involved operations in all areas of the country, such as immigration, museums, national parks, tourism and geological surveys. Several branches operated within the Department of the Interior evolved into separate agencies or departments of the federal government, including Indian Affairs, Immigration, the Geological Survey of Canada, Parks Canada, and the North-West Mounted Police.

In 1930, the federal government transferred all responsibility for crown land and natural resource administration to the provinces. In Saskatchewan, these functions were assumed by the Department of Natural Resources. The Department of the Interior ceased to exist on December 1, 1936. Its remaining functions were amalgamated with those of the Departments of Mines, Immigration and Indian Affairs to create the Department of Mines and Resources.

Canada. Department of the Secretary of State for the Provinces

  • GA 2
  • Primary Agency
  • 1867-1873

In the reorganization of the Cabinet which confederation made necessary, two new secretarial offices were created - Secretary of State for the Provinces, and Secretary of State of Canada. Staff for the office of the Secretary of State for the Provinces was drawn from the Canada West Branch of the former Provincial Secretary's Office, while the Canada East Branch provided the personnel for the Department of Secretary of State of Canada.

Following the surrender of Rupert's Land by the Hudson's Bay Company to the new Dominion of Canada in 1869 and the subsequent passing of the Manitoba Act in 1870 (33 Vic., c. 3), the federal government, in 1872, devised the Dominion Lands Act (35 Vic., c. 23) as a means by which this vast new territory in the northwest would be administered and gradually brought into confederation. The Department of Secretary of State for the Provinces was originally designated as the federal department charged with administering this act, however, the following year, in 1873, Parliament abolished the Department and created an entirely new department, the Department of the Interior (36 Vic., c. 4), to take over this responsibility. This move effectively placed, within the jurisdiction of a single government department, all federal administrative duties for all unpatent lands west of the Manitoba/Ontario border, for all Ordnance and Admiralty Lands across the Dominion, for all Indian lands, and for all public lands not specifically under the mandate of the Departments of Public Works or Militia and Defence.

Thomas, Lewis H., 1917-1983

  • PA 59
  • Persoon
  • 1917-1983

Lewis Herbert Thomas was born on April 13, 1917 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He was the son of the Reverend Robert Thomas and Margaret (Ross) Thomas. Thomas received his elementary education in Nova Scotia and attended high school in Saskatoon. He earned his Bachelor of Arts (1940) and Master of Arts (1941) degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. Thomas received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1953.

During his professional career, Thomas served as Assistant Provincial Archivist for Saskatchewan (1946-1948) and Provincial Archivist for Saskatchewan (1948-1957). From 1957 to 1964, he was Associate Professor of History at the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus. Thomas then joined the faculty of the University of Alberta as a Professor of History. He served as chairman of the History Department from 1965 to 1968. In addition to teaching western Canadian history, Thomas also wrote several books on the subject, including "The Struggle for Responsible Government in the North-West Territories, 1870-1897" (1956) and "The Renaissance of Canadian History: A Biography of A. L. Burt" (1975). He wrote numerous articles and served as editor of "Saskatchewan History" (1949 to 1957) and as a member of the National Monuments and Historic Sites Board of Canada (1968-1976). Upon his retirement from the University of Alberta in August 1982, Thomas returned to Regina, where he resided until his death on November 21, 1983.

Thomas was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Regina in 1972. He received life memberships in the Canadian Historical Association and the Association of Canadian Archivists and was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada on October 5, 1983. Thomas Bay in Regina was named in his honour in 1978.

Thomas married Margaret E. Telford on August 15, 1946. They had two children: Jean Alice and Robert Telford.

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