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Northern Studies: Northern Ontario

Royal Commision on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP)





  • RCAP was established in 1991 to address issues of concern to the Aboriginal people of Canada. It was motivated by the Oka Crisis and the failed Meech Lake Accord.
  • The mandate of the Commission was to study the evolution of the relationship between Aboriginal peoples, the government of Canada and Canadian society as a whole.
  • Sixteen areas were identified for special attention by Justice Brian Dickson.  On his recommendation, 4 of the 7 commissioners appointed were Aboriginal people; 3 were non-Aboriginal.
  • The integrated research plan, which was published in 1993, had 4 theme areas: governance; land and economy; social and cultural issues; and the North. In addition, these themes were addressed from 4 perspectives: historical, women, youth and urban perspectives.
  • In its public hearings process, the Commission visited Aboriginal communities across Canada and heard briefs from over 2000 people. More than 350 research studies were commissioned.
  • The 5-volume final report (available online) was released on November 21, 1996 at a special ceremony in Hull, Québec.
  • Each of the five volumes presented the Commission's thoughts and recommendations on a range of interconnected topics. Chapters are devoted to major themes such as treaties, economic development, health, housing, Métis perspectives, and the North.

Relevant documents

Print copies of the five volumes of the final report are available in the library:

v. 1. Looking forward, looking back
v. 2. (pt. 1 & 2) Restructuring the relationship
v. 3. Gathering strength
v. 4. Perspectives and realities
v. 5. Renewal: a twenty-year commitment


Indigenous History - RG 10 (Government of Canada files)

The following links will help you locate information held in the National Archives of Canada. Information pertaining to the Deptartment of Indian Affairs is held in Record Group 10 (RG 10).