The Permit System


Although movement towards implementation of a permit system began in the House of Commons in the 1870s with amendments to the Indian Act, it was not fully implemented until 1885. This policy prohibited Indigenous people from selling anything they had "owned, grew, raised, cut, dug, caught, were given, found, or otherwise acquired" (Smith 2009, 99 - see relevant resources below).

This policy hindered the independence and economic development activities of Indigenous people, thereby hindering their ability to survive and thrive as they attempted to transition to an agricultural economy after the near-extinction of the buffalo. It also increased the power of the Indian Agent without corresponding mechanisms of accountability, allowing for abuse of power on behalf of the Agent. Please see related entries on Indian Agents.