Inquiry into Indian Participation in Exhibitions

A federal inquiry into the effects of participation in agricultural exhibitions on Aboriginal people was conducted after Indian Agents complained of their attendance, but had no legal ground for prohibiting it. Fieldworkers and Indian agents who participated in this survey noted the moral temptations that came from these events, and the decreased productivity of farms as a result. They concluded that Indians did not have the good moral judgement to attend these events, and it was against the better good.


Brief, Bill No. 114. Amendments to the Indian Act: “Of Dances on Reserves” and “The Sun Dance and Other Dances Which Occur in Open Air in summer” PAC, RG10 B.S., Vol. 3825, files 60511-1 and 2: Correspondence regarding Departmental repression on Indian dances, particularly Sun Dance, in Manitoba and the North-West Territories, 1889-1903 and 1904-1911; vol. 6809l file 470-2-3l vol. 5: Scott to Roche, 30 January 1914 with draft bill and brief, p. 7, Amendment Bill Brief Scott sent Lougheed 18 May 1914, p. 17-22;

An amendment was made following this inquiry to Section 149 of the Indian Act (which dealt with rituals, celebrations, etc) stipulating that Indians could only participate in these events with the permission of their agent. This further restricted Indigenous movements, and prevented those who were actively invested in farming and agriculture (as encouraged by the Federal Government) from partaking in agricultural society/events. The restriction of Indigenous movements to agricultural exhibitions appears counterintuitive to the government's desire to move Indigenous peoples to agricultural subsistence, reflecting that policies were not in accordance with true desires which was to completely eradicate Indigenous peoples from society altogether (whether through assimilation or death).
Rural or Urban
Start Date
Sub Event
Section 149 Indian Act Amendment
File Description
An Act to Amend the Indian Act: 4-5 George V, Chapt. 35, 12th Parliament, 3rd Session