Indian Act Amendment

An 1890 amendment to section 16 of the Indian Act legislated that "no Indian could be granted more than 160 acres of land." This created barriers to the agricultural and economic development of reserve farmers, as they were unable to expand their farms to produce commercially. This amendment also added sexual offences to the jurisdiction of the Indian Agent. Jurisdiction over this offecse was removed in 1892, but restored in 1894 along with prostitution and vagrancy. The addition of sexual offences increased the jurisdiction of the Indian Agent gave the agent further control over the lives of Aboriginal peoples, especially women, and is reflective of paternalistic perceptions of Aboriginal women as sexually deviant. Departmental officials, missionaries, and teachers were strictly forbidden from trading with Aboriginal peoples.


Venne, Sharon Helen. Indian Acts and Amendments, 1868-1975: An Indexed Collection. Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan Native Law Centre, 1981. 110.

To note, Indigenous women's identities have by and large been hypersexualized, portraying them as promiscuous, immoral, and over-sexual (thus constituting a threat to a white Euro-Canadian population). Because of this, Indigenous women have been unduly targeted both officially and unofficially by laws and behaviour. This has lead to the rampant abuse of Indigenous women since contact and still permeates contemporary Canadian society, perpetuated by the public, police and corrections, lawmakers, and the government.
Rural or Urban
Start Date
Sub Event
Addition of Land Allotment Restrictions, Sexual Offences, Prohibition on Trading