A “world-startling discovery” - Stories in the Canada Lands Survey Records
In 2017, a small collection of survey plans in the custody of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) grew exponentially when Natural Resources Canada’s Office of the Surveyor General transferred over 90,000 original survey maps and field books from the Canada Lands Survey Records (CLSR). Dating as early as 1769, these underused archival records document the survey, settlement, and sustainable use of Crown Lands. Among many other things, the CLSR collection documents Canada’s Indigenous history and culture such as the distribution of language groups, treaty rights, the location of Residential Schools and Indian reserves, and Indigenous land use and occupation. Through these, we can see the history of Indian reserves, National Parks, military bases, railway development, the fur trade, and the Arctic. As we will see, the records also help tell the story of the significant Indigenous contribution to the Klondike Gold Rush.
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