Fonds 279 - Canada. Northern Administration Branch fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Canada. Northern Administration Branch fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Textual record
  • Cartographic material

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1920-1978 (Creation)
    Canada. Northern Administration Branch

Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 51 m of textual material
ca. 116 photographs : b&w prints and negatives
31 maps

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

Administrative history

From 1905 to 1967, the administration of the Northwest Territories was the responsibility of several different federal departments. From 1922 to 1953, various versions of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch were administered by the Department of the Interior (1922-1936) and the Department of Mines and Resources (1937-1953). During these years, this administration was run almost exclusively from Ottawa. In 1953, the branch concerned with the administration of the Northwest Territories, known at that time as the Northern Administration and Lands Branch, transferred to the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. The Northern Administration and Lands Branch expanded rapidly in the 1950s and in 1959 it was renamed the Northern Administration Branch. This coincided with a reorganization of the responsibilities handled by the Branch. The responsibility for northern affairs was divided into six divisions: 1) Territorial Division; 2) Education Division; 3) Industrial Division; 4) Welfare Division; 5) Resources Division and 6) Engineering Division. In conjunction with this reorganization, a program of decentralization of the field operations of the Northern Administration Branch was enhanced by the creation of two new regional offices. The Administrator of the Mackenzie was stationed in Fort Smith, while the Administrator of the Arctic, stationed in Ottawa, was responsible for the Districts of Keewatin and Franklin, as well as Inuit affairs in arctic Quebec. In 1966, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development supplanted the Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources. In 1967, Yellowknife was established as the capital of the Northwest Territories and the transfer of responsibilities from the Northern Administration Branch to the Government of the Northwest Territories began. The transfer rendered the Northern Administration Branch obsolete and during 1968, the Territorial Relations Branch replaced it.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds consists of approximately 51 meters of textual records, approximately 116 photographs, and 31 maps created and accumulated by the Northern Administration Branch and its various predecessors, from 1920 to 1978. The material was generated by the Federal government's activities in administering the Northwest Territories. Most of the records (over 34 m of textual records) are composed of files transferred from Ottawa to Yellowknife beginning in 1967, and include administrative and operational files. The majority of these files date between 1949 and 1967 and incorporate: correspondence, reports, vital statistic information, financial data, minutes, and a wide variety of reference material kept by the department. The files were classified via a numerical block system. The block system consisted of primary, secondary and tertiary levels such that a composite file number (for example 311-105-93) would represent a progression from general subject matter to a specific subject and/or location. The following primary blocks arrange the files:

100 - Administration;
200 - Economic and Industrial Development;
300 - Engineering Projects;
400 - Forests and Game;
500 - Public Service;
600 - Education;
1000 - General files on settlements, associations, companies, provinces, foreign countries, Inuit affairs, and resources;
20 - Individual case files;
3 - Personnel and organizational files.

None of the 700, 800 or 900 block files were forwarded to the NWT Archives. Moreover, at the time of transfer from Ottawa, it appears that other records from the file blocks brought to Yellowknife were culled in Ottawa. In addition, not all government functions were transferred in 1967, and some files contain records generated after 1967 from the continued administration of a function either by the federal government or from the use of the files by the new Territorial Government. A small number of photographs were located in the files during processing, however, these images have been left in their original files.

Additional accruals to this fonds make up another 10 meters of textual records and include the Northern Administration Branch records from the Fort Churchill district office dating from 1960 to 1970, and Western Arctic education records from 1964 to 1969. Another accrual of 7 meters of textual records documents the administration of trapping and hunting in the Northwest Territories, including correspondence, Superintendent of Game daily journals, game officer daily diaries and monthly reports, meeting minutes and materials, wildlife publications and reports, procedures, registered trapping area files, licence applications and licences, hunting and trapping returns, and fur export tax returns.

Other records of this fonds consist of: four ledgers kept between 1920 and 1967 documenting fur trapping and fur trading activities, four ledgers documenting fur and game take and value on registered trap lines, various licensing, and scientific research work; budget papers including estimates, expenditure statements and capital substantiation reports for 1966 to 1969; 2 supplementary readers, "Nuna" and "The Story of Papik an Eskimo Boy" compiled by the Curriculum Section of the Education Division from the journals of young Inuit children; and a 1954 report produced by C.C. Johnson, a Resident Engineer from Fort Smith. This report, entitled "Preliminary Report, Mackenzie Highway - Mills Lake Road" includes 31 corner mounted photographic prints and 16 black and white negatives. The report discusses plans to build a road to Mills Landing. In addition, there are copies of the Eskimo Bulletin dated from 1953-1959. The Eskimo Bulletin was produced by the Northern Administration and Land Branch in order to teach Inuit the English language.

Notes area

Physical condition


Language of material

    Script of material

      Location of originals

      Availability of other formats

      Restrictions on access

      Access restricted under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Finding aids

      Finding aid available for G-1979-003.

      Associated materials



      Copyright held by the Government of Canada.

      Alternative identifier(s)

      Standard number

      Standard number

      Access points

      Place access points

      Name access points

      Genre access points

      Control area

      Description record identifier

      Institution identifier

      Rules or conventions

      Language of description

      • English

      Script of description


        Acquisition area