- About The Project
- 1901 Census
- Manitoba Affidavits
- Northwest Scrip Application
Manitoba Act Métis Grants
Section 31 of the Manitoba Act provided:
"And whereas, it is expedient, towards the extinguishment of the Indian Title to the lands in the Province, to appropriate a portion of such ungranted lands, to the extent of one million four hundred thousand acres thereof, for the benefit of the families of the half-breed residents, it is hereby enacted, that, under regulations to be from time to time made by the Governor General in such parts of the Province as he may deem expedient, to the extent aforesaid, and divide the same among the children of the half-breed heads of families residing in the Province at the time of the said transfer to Canada, and the same shall be granted to the said children respectively, in such mode and on such conditions as to settlement and otherwise, as the Governor General in Council may from time to time determine."
This provision entailed a land grant of 1.4 million acres for the Métis. Originally, the grant was destined for Métis “children of heads of family,” however, an “Act respecting the appropriation of certain Dominion Lands in Manitoba,” passed on 26 May 1874, allowed that Métis “heads-of-family” were also entitled to a land grant of 160 acres or dollars in scrip. The 1.4 million acre grant was calculated based on a census of the province that estimated the population of the Manitoba Métis to be equal to or less than 10,000. Therefore, according to this number, every participant in the grant would theoretically be allotted 140 acres – an allocation slightly smaller than that offered to homesteaders under the Dominion Lands Act. However, based on a “report of the Half-Breed Commissioners on their investigation of the claims of half-breed children to an allotment of land, and the claims of the heads of families to an issue of scrip,” the amount of the grants, per person, was raised to 160 dollars per head of family and 240 acres per child of head of family.
Section 32 of the Manitoba Act provided:
"For the quieting of titles, and assuring to the settlers in the Province the peaceable possession of the lands now held by them, it is enacted as follows:-
1. All grants of land in freehold made by the Hudson’s Bay Company up to the eighth day of March, in the year 1869, shall if required by the owner, be confirmed by grant from the Crown.
2. All grants of estates less then freehold in land made by the Hudson’s Bay Company up to the eighth day of March aforesaid shall, if required by the owner, be converted into an estate in freehold by grant from the Crown.
3. All titles by occupancy with the sanction and under the license and authority of the Hudson’s Bay Company up to the eighth day of March aforesaid, of land in that part of the Province in which the Indian Title has been extinguished, shall if required by the owner, be converted into estate in freehold grant from the Crown.
4. All persons in peaceable possession of tracts of land at the time of the transfer to Canada, in those parts of the Province in which the Indian Title has not been extinguished, shall have the right of preemption of the same, on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the Governor in Council.
5. The Lieutenant-Governor is hereby authorized, under regulations to be made from time to time by the Governor General in Council, to make all such provisions for ascertaining and adjusting on fair and equitable terms, the rights of Common, and rights for cutting Hay held and enjoyed by settlers in the Province; and for the commutation of the same by grants of land from the Crown."
The provision for recognition of a variety of land tenures at the Red River Settlement under Section 32 was not Métis-specific, but included all those who could claim possession of river lots. The Red River Settlement was composed of a series of communities, referred to as parishes, stretched out along the Red and Assiniboine rivers. The entire settlement was subdivided by surveys of river lots carried out by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1836. Starting in the early 1870s, federal surveyors resurveyed the parishes and lots, and the Hudson’s Bay Company lot numbers were re-sequenced.
However, since the Métis comprised the majority of the Red River population, Section 32 lands are of interest when studying Métis history as these claims created documents that contain details of Métis individuals. While the character of the two types of entitlements is very distinct, the Section 31 and 32 entitlements are often confused. Some clarity on the claim processes assists with the usage of the Section 31 Manitoba Act Affidavits document series.
Map of “St. John, St. James and St. Boniface” (1876).
This map shows the area covered by an early Dominion survey of the central parishes of Red River that indicates the long river lots, lot numbers, area under cultivation, and buildings. SOURCE: Library and Archives Canada, NMC 23464
 Manitoba Act, 1870 (33 Victoria) c. 3.
 LAC, RG 15, vol. 38, file 2, N.O. Coté, “Administration and Sale of Dominion Lands, ClaimsUnder the Manitoba Act, Half-Breed Claims and Letters Patent for Dominion Lands 1871 –1930,” Department of the Interior, 1931, p. 3.
 Murray, “A Guide,” p. 21. See also Flanagan, Metis Lands p. 66.
 Murray, “A Guide,” p. 21. See also Flanagan, Metis Lands; and D. N. Sprague, “Government Lawlessness in the Administration of Manitoba Land Claims, 1870-1887,” Manitoba Law Journal vol. 10 (1979-80) pp. 415-441 regarding the implementation of the Manitoba Act.
 Coté, “Administration and Sale of Dominion Lands,” p. 2.
MNC Historical Online Database – “Learn” 7
 Manitoba Act, 1870 (33 Victoria) c. 3.