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The McKenna McBride Agreement

When Sir Richard McBride was appointed premier in 1903, the Province was growing rapidly and the government's economic plan for growth had little or no regard for First Nations or their land. Upset with the state of the Indian land policy in the province, First Nations delegates took their concerns to McBride. When they were dismissed by the Provincial government the delegates took their concerns to the Dominion government. Sir Robert Borden's Conservative Dominion government response to the delegation was that they were also growing increasingly frustrated with British Columbia's Indian policy. The Dominion government, seeking a final solution to the dispute, proposed the creation of a joint Dominion-Provincial commission to resolve British Columbia's Indian land policy issues.

Commission members in sessionIn 1911, Dr. J. A. J. McKenna was appointed special commissioner by the Dominion government to negotiate with the Provincial government. To appease the Provincial government, the issue of Aboriginal Title was removed early on from the negotiations. Finally, in September 1912, an agreement was reached. The McKenna McBride Agreement laid down the terms for a joint Dominion-Provincial Royal Commission to settle the problems of reserve size and reversionary interest.

In accordance with the Indian Act, the Commission had the authority to increase or reduce reserves with consent from the majority of the adult males of the affected Band. Any reserve land reductions were to be subdivided and sold. Profits from the sale were to be divided equally between the Provincial and Dominion governments. Fifty percent of the proceeds received by the Dominion government were to be held in trust for the benefit of British Columbia Indians. The Agreement also stated that until the final report was published, the Province would not give or sell any land that the Dominion government had requested for Indian reserve land. If any part of reserve lands were required for development purposes, notably transportation right-of-ways or for Public Works purposes, the Commissioners could make Interim Reports for which compensation was to be paid to the Band whose land was cut-off.

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